Driving Miss Hannah


It’s my fault, really.

When Hannah was 12, she was (in my opinion) tall enough to start learning to drive. We were at Loren’s farm (Loren is Carl’s brother) so I drove Hannah up the farm lane, turned the pickup around and put her behind the wheel. I had her drive down the lane, but towards the end she mixed up the brake and accelerator, and she accidentally gunned it. Fortunately we weren’t going too fast, and I was sitting next to her, so I reached down with my left hand and slammed on the brakes. I reached up with my right hand to put the truck in park, and sat up. Right in front of us was the old chicken house. A few more feet and we’d have been part of the structure. Carl, who had been sitting on the back steps watching, ran over to us. Needless to say he looked rather pale. And poor Hannah was terrified to the point that, when she turned 14, she refused to get her permit and start driving. And that’s my fault.

Well, along came Hannah’s freshman year and with it immersion into extracurricular activity. Involvement in marching band, jazz band, pit band, honor band, mixed choir and set crew meant being at the high school both early and late. For early morning obligations I was able to get her rides with a senior who was also in band (I helped pay for his gas) and for late obligations she was usually able to ride the 6PM shuttle bus. However, things didn’t always work out and sometimes Carl or I had to drive her there or pick her up. Every time this happened we’d say, “You know, you could avoid this problem if you’d get your license.” Usually she’d give us her annoyed teenager vulture stare, and then she’d pout a little. Oh, well.

Next week, though, Hannah turns 15. She’s beginning to understand the need for a driver’s license, but we need a way to teach her to drive without wrecking a vehicle or a barn. So we’ve discussed getting a golf cart. Golf carts are legal to drive without a license in Atkins as long as you stay off Park Ridge Road (the main drag through town) and have a Slow Moving Vehicle sign on the back, plus an orange safety flag mounted six feet above the ground. Golf carts don’t go fast, so they’re the perfect thing for Hannah to learn the basics on. We’ve been looking for a while, and last night we found a cart we like. It’s copper colored, and Craig (the seller) needs to mount the roof on yet, but the tires are good and batteries are only a couple years old and in great condition. Carl and Hannah test drove it last night. Carl says Hannah over-corrects when she steers and she takes corners too fast, but with a few lessons and some practice Carl seems to think she’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. And since there’s no age restrictions Mary will be able to drive it, too. Then I can take Mary to Loren’s and give her a driving lesson…..

Or, maybe not.


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