Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

December 22, 2012

Memories supplant driving fear

GLASGOW — The coming year will be significant. I will become the father of a driving teenager. Yes, all of you fathers who have crossed this threshold before me, I will be joining you soon for coffee and tears.

It is most frightening to consider the possibilities. My heart isn’t certain it is prepared for the occasion when the eldest child asks to borrow the keys to her mother’s car so that she and her friends can cruise the teen cruising path in Glasgow. Ugh.

At this point, we, my seven faithful readers, could travel one of two paths. We could discuss the fear I have of possible outcomes when the eldest child is behind the wheel, but I don’t think I want to do that. Let’s take the other path.

My first car was a 1970-something AMC Gremlin. It was puke in color, or the hue of something a baby produces. It cost my mother $500 or so and I drove it like it was free.

The stereo system was Pioneer, a big deal in those days, but the speakers were found in a garbage bin. Occasionally, while rocking out lightly to something from “License to Ill,” I would have to pull to the side of the road and my best friend would have to get out, go to the back of the car, open the hatchback that had no lock, and rewire the speakers. Off we would roll again to the dulcet sounds of Adam Horovitz, or someone equally as amusing to us. (My mother didn’t get it. She preferred the classics, such as The Beatles, or Led Zeppelin, at least. Also, truth be known, the tire noise and the howl of wind blowing through the door jambs washed out whatever Adam was ranting on about.)

The car itself wasn’t so grand. One headlight shined on the road and the other into the tree canopies, prompting my friend to once quip, “At least you know where not to go.”

We drove on anyway into each night without a clue where we were going, literally and metaphorically.

He went to work for his father, then to college. I went to work for Uncle Sam, then to college.

The Gremlin went to the scrap yard, but not before providing days of driving escape from the mundane, teen-age life.

I will try to hold to those memories of mine and not think about the other possibilities of the life of a teen-age driver. It will be much better that way for all of us, especially the eldest child.

James Brown is editor for the Glasgow Daily Times. He can be contacted by e-mail at jbrown@glasgowdailytimes.com.

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