I've mentioned before that I grew up in a small country town in Northeast Texas. Our home was on the outskirts of town and my parents had their own little parcel of country heaven. Five acres to be exact. This little patch of property gave me a lot of freedom as a child and in my early teen years. I'd run all over the place and would get lost in my own little world for the day. My parents never really worried about where I was or what I was doing, even though I'd be gone for hours at a stretch. That is so unlike the world Violet is growing up in, but I'll cover that on another day.
Because we had our own little piece of country heaven, my Daddy had the brilliant idea of teaching me how to drive his truck one day. A standard truck, no less. I was at the tender age of 12 and had been begging him for some time to teach me how to drive. "Just on our property Daddy. Please!" I don't recall what brand of truck it was but I seem to remember it was a little one, not unlike the Ford Ranger.
I'll never forget sitting behind the wheel of my Daddy's truck and feeling so grown up. My feet barely reached the pedals, and I couldn't sit with my back to the seat and reach the steering wheel and shift, so I was sitting all the way to the edge of my seat. I listened to Daddy's instructions on how to slowly release the clutch with the left foot while gently adding gas with the right. When he felt that I had figured out how to do everything he gave me control of his little truck. A decision I'm sure haunts him to this very day.
The truck was in neutral and my feet were on the brakes when I started Daddy's truck. Doing good so far, but it didn't take long for all hell to break loose. I looked at Daddy with a big smile on my face and he told me I was doing good. Then came the tricky part, the part where the truck actually moves! I put my foot on the clutch, released the brake, and gunned the gas. The truck took off so fast that it began to do circles in our front yard. I was slammed to the back of the seat and couldn't reach anything while that little truck spun wildly out of control. Daddy was yelling at me to hit the brakes and I couldn't even reach them. Somehow he managed to get on the floorboard of the truck and use his hands to slam on the brakes. The truck came to an abrupt stop when it met up-close-and-personal with a pine tree sapling.
In a matter of a few minutes I managed to put ruts in our front yard, hit a small tree and give Daddy his first gray hairs. I think that is about the time he started to lose his hair too. I never took a driving lesson from Daddy again. That job fell to my Mom, and then later to my boyfriend who wisely took me to an empty cow pasture to teach me how to drive. I finally learned how to drive a standard vehicle but that poor pine sapling never did stand straight again.