I love driving. I love sports cars. I love stick shifts. I’ve never experienced a mani-pedi or a week at a spa, but I know every hill and curvy road in St. Paul. I’d much rather drive my ’73 MGB (“The Little Girl”) to the farmers market or practice how efficiently I can circumvent a traffic circle in the Fiat (“Puff”) than splurge on sparkly nails.
Roads of Dreams
I grew up in Iowa, where my Dad swore there were no speed limits in the country. He’d cram all of us into some British roadster and we’d fly to my grandparents’ farm near La Porte City to help out (and eat pie). I can still feel the wind whipping my hair around and the sheer joy flying past the endless miles of corn and cows. My dad no longer drives. Nowadays, we kids pick him up to run errands and go out to lunch.
I can’t say I’m the only one of us that inherited the car bug, but I’m certainly the most vocal about it. Invariably, when I pick him up, my dad’s got something to say about the Fiat. They’re always complimentary. He likes the shiny red exterior, the engine’s purr (turbo!), the interior details, and of course riding around with me. The first ride last year, he kept trying to brake from the passenger’s seat. He’s given up on that folly, so instead, he just gives me helpful advice:
I’m surprised you haven’t gotten a ticket yet.
Turn here, but slow down first.
When, I drive with you, I feel like we’re going to take off.
My response to the last comment was, “Well, who in the world taught me to drive?!” (For the record, it was my older brother in a 5-speed red Camaro, but my dad laughed anyway.)
Every Day is a Gift
Yes, I love my car, but I love my dad even more. As he approaches 90, every day playing hooky with him is a gift.