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Excitement to grow up brings accident waiting to happen

By JACK GODBEY

Growing up during the 1980s brought many great things into my life. I was there to witness the birth of MTV and to see everyone wearing their hair so high and engulfed with hair spray that they had to duck to make it under a doorway. 

By the time I hit my sophomore year in high school, my attention had turned to the day when I could obtain my driver’s license.

Since I was only 14 at the time and wasn’t old enough to get a permit to drive, I was constantly pestering my dad to let me take his truck out in the field to drive around. Since we lived on a small farm, I had plenty of room to try to get it out of my system. 

Ironically, I don’t enjoy driving much today. In fact, sometimes it seems more like a chore rather than something fun as my teenager self believed. 

Recently as I was driving on the interstate with the road signs passing by in a blur, I had to chuckle a bit when I found myself remembering how exciting driving used to seem and now I couldn’t get this trip over fast enough. So many years ago, driving was the most important thing in the world to me. 

I was in such a rush to grow up that it sometimes got me in trouble. I remember one such time when I was young when my eagerness to drive led me to learn a valuable lesson. 

It was a summer afternoon in 1983 and I went to start the haggling process with my dad that I hoped would end up with me behind the wheel. I found him in his favorite chair and I asked if I could drive his truck in the field. I don’t recall his exact words but it had something to do with a tall cliff and me jumping off of it. 

I continued to explain all the reasons why letting me drive was a good idea and he finally tossed me the keys and said to be careful. 

I eagerly ran outside and discovered that his truck was parked in the garage. I jumped in the cab and fired up the engine. I sat in with my hands on the wheel and my heart was full of excitement. So much so that I quickly put the gear shift into reverse and began to back out of the garage without paying much attention.

As a result, I cut the wheel too much and as I looked over, I saw the passenger side mirror crumble against the side of the garage wall. 

My heart sank into my shoes. I now had to go tell my dad what had happened. 

Walking into the house was the longest walk of my life. I felt like I was on death row walking to my execution. I was expecting to be yelled at or at least punished. 

To my surprise, neither happened. My dad simply looked up at me and said, “Now you understand that you’re not ready to drive. Don’t rush through life. Driving will come soon enough.”

That is something I have tried to remember throughout my life. 

We all get excited from time to time  and start to wish our life away with things we don’t want to wait for. I think it’s time to slow down, enjoy our life, and let the good things come when they are ready. One day we’ll look back and wonder what all the rush was about anyway.