But, along the way, I got to thinking about how and when I learned to drive. The first memories I have of driving were in Loveland, Colorado. My grandpa had a farm, near the Lone Tree Reservoir, and I was probably in, or before, the first grade. My brother and I used to take turns driving the tractor while the rest of my extended family picked it up and stacked bales on the trailer. I could not reach the pedals without standing up, so any stops or turns ended up being a challenge. Needless to say, I ran over many a bale. I can still hear Uncle George yelling “did you not see that bale? Are you blind? Why didn’t you stop?” This was pretty easy for him to say, he could sit on the seat and reach the pedals! I had to stand up, put all my skinny behind’s weight on the pedal and try to stay on the tractor. Not an easy thing to accomplish for a five year old. But I did learn to drive a tractor there.
I started learning to drive a truck when we lived in Higbee, Colorado. I have mentioned this before in another story (How I learned to…). Dad used to have us drive around the place, but the neighbor boys and us (Cully and I) drove all over that country in an old chevy truck. It was the one that that had different sized tires, big ones on one side and small ones on the other. It always looked like it was about to tip over into the bar ditch! But it was a column shift (kids now-a-days probably don’t even know what that is!) and we learned to run the clutch and drive.
But, back to Alicia. She did real well until we got to the house. She pulled in the driveway just fine and headed toward the car port (I had my first hint of fear at this point, would she be able to pull it in?). I Thought now would be a good time to offer some more coaching. I calmly told her, “ok, put the clutch in and ease down on the brake.” She never slowed and I even felt like she had sped up! So with a little more emphasis, I said “clutch and brake”. Again, not much of a response from her! At this point, I think I was yelling “clutch and brake! Clutch and brake!......STOP!” Which she finally did, we just barely bumped the BBQ grill! All in all she did a pretty good job, just got a little scary at the end! What is it pilots say…”any crash you can walk away from….”
I laughed a couple of days later, because Alicia talked her mom into letting her drive the Expidiition home. Alicia said, “Mom let me drive 40 all the way!” I thought about those 90 degree turns and wondered, “whose crazy now!”