Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
- TITLE: Who Needs To Drive Anyway
By LaVonne Wood
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It all started when I was eleven years old, some fifty years ago. Dad decided he needed help with the fieldwork, so he put my sister and me on tractors. My legs were not long enough to reach the clutch petal or the brake petal and still stay seated on the tractor seat. I had to hang onto to the steering wheel while pushing the clutch petal in and pulling myself off the seat into a half standing position. I only hoped I didn’t have to push in the clutch petal and the brake petal at the same time.
Driving tractor got a little easier as I grew older and taller. I still didn’t get the hang of it very easy though. I remember the time I was heading up a steep hill with a little tractor. I managed to get almost to the top when it seemed like the tractor wanted to die. I panicked and pushed in the clutch. What a dumb move! What goes up must come down, and the tractor and I headed backwards down the hill at redneck speed.
Unknowing to me, my father was watching from a distance, and if he would have been a praying man, he would have been shouting to God, “Lord, don’t let her put that clutch back in”. He informed me later that had I put the clutch in, the tractor would have jerked back into gear and probably flipped the thing over and both tractor and I would have come tumbling down the hill, end over end. Fortunately, I was too scared to do anything and just hung on for dear life with a death grip on the steering wheel until the tractor stopped at the base of the hill.
I think if more teens went through the experiences I have, they would not be so anxious to get behind the wheel of any vehicle. In fact, I just cringed at even the thought of having to drive a car and meet other cars on our country gravel roads with room enough for only a car and a half. Most times, I pulled over, halfway into the ditch, stopped and waited patiently for the other car to drive by before continuing on my journey. Sure, I felt foolish, but I lived, didn’t I.
Then came the time when my parents informed me I needed to get my driver’s license. “No way,” I said. “I don’t want to drive and I sure don’t want to take a driving test with some stranger in the car beside me.”
Thankfully, my parents pushed me until I gave in and took the test. Not like it was a big deal or anything because in our town you only had to take two right or left turns to be clear out of town. The biggest part of the test was the parallel parking, which I passed with flying colors. Wow, my confidence was growing already!
I learned that parents, teachers, and God sometimes push us into doing things we are afraid of to help build confidence in us and prepare us for the future. I learned to love driving and especially going on long trips. Funny, I later married a man who doesn’t care to drive, so guess who did most of the driving over the years.
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