Some of the fun of being a grandpa is teaching your grandchildren to drive. Since we live in the country age doesn’t really matter that much to me. I start them out on my lap when they are two or three and we move on from there. We start out on big lawn mowers, four wheelers, tractors, and on to cars and trucks. When they are six or seven they are pretty skilled. I know that sounds crazy but they are!!!
Last summer I was out working and a seven year old granddaughter was driving on my lap. We were on my big tractor and loader. I jumped off to get something and needed the tractor where I was to load something. I asked her to bring it to me. I was only about 100 feet away so not much could happen in that short of a distance. So she jumps onto the tractor and pushed the pedal but it wouldn’t move. I had forgotten about the safety mechanism. She didn’t weigh enough to disengage the safety. So Poppie had to go get the tractor himself.
There is an age limit though when I quit letting them drive cars and pickups until they are licensed. For boys I stop at age twelve until they have their beginners permit. There is a reason for this. This happened to me at age twelve and I won’t ever forget it.
My grandmother just lived about five miles from where I now live. She is the person who first taught me to drive. They drove big Lincoln Continentals always. The summer before I was ten she began to let me drive with her on the passenger side. She actually let me drive when we went to the store in the next small town up the road. She always drove really fast (she was spunky) and she wanted me to drive fast. I thought I was really big.
When I was twelve we were at her farm visiting. My aunt and uncle were there along with my cousins. My cousin Sherry, who is just a year younger than me, had brought a friend out. I thought that she was cute so I wanted to show off. I asked my dad if I could take the car and drive around. He said “okay but drive slow and be careful”. My brother, cousin, and her friend all piled into the car. The car was a 1960 Ford station wagon. I remember it having a wood grain on the side panels.
Dad handed me the keys and I gently pulled out and got onto the road. We drove around for awhile and I decided to go fast. We were less than a mile from the farm on the next road. I remember punching the accelerator and we were really getting with it. I had forgotten that just ahead was a railroad track. This wasn’t just any railroad crossing either. It was built up about two feet and when we flew over it in the air I heard a noise. I looked behind me and lo and behold was the gas tank. It had fallen off.
I looked at my brother and the girls and I told them that we had to go back and get it. I backed the car up, let down the tailgate of the station wagon, and my brother and I lifted it into the back of the car. At that point there was nothing to do but go back to the farm. We hobbled back to the house. Believe it or not the car was still running. It died just as we got back. There was enough fuel in the lines to make it that short of a distance. The car was making all kinds of racket.
I remember sheepishly going up to my dad and telling him what had happened. He inspected the car and not only had the gas tank fallen off but I had put a hole in the oil pan. The motor was absolutely fried. Well, you know what happened next.
I was escorted to the bedroom. I had a meeting with my dad and his leather belt. My trying to show off didn’t payoff for me. I know boys! I know them very well and I have a lot of boy stories that could be told. They seem to start at about age twelve so that is my cutoff age. Things just happen to boys.
Looking back, it is only by the grace of God that I’m alive today. The Lord God delivered me safely through these years, albeit with a few scars. By age nineteen I was grownup and quit the boys stuff. I have been a man ever since. Praise God for His mercy and grace!!!!
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways ( I Cor. 13:11).