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I Wish . . .

Have you ever had to do something you just hated? Last year, two days before my seventy-fourth birthday, I voluntarily gave up driving. I was rattling around town and almost got run over. Twice. I came home, walked in the house and canceled my car insurance. I knew I wouldn’t drive that car uninsured. My kids and friends were so proud of me. I was too, but habits you’ve had sixty-four-years are hard to break.

I started driving around the farm when I was ten, sitting on a pillow, with a pillow at my back and looking through the steering wheel. The car had a manual gearshift.

The year was 1941. Mother’s sweet little 1938 Ford sedan was black and beautiful and we used it hard. I drove my grannie all over the farm gathering vegetables. Gas was rationed, but we had a D farm sticker. I was super careful. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have let me drive.

For weeks after I’d sold my car, I went around in a blue funk. I knew I was too old to drive in town. I knew I was blessed to have the kids nearby.

They or the grandkids are always walking in, offering to take me to lunch or shopping or both. My brother lives in Friendswood. He is in and out of the house, constantly dragging me somewhere. He doesn’t want me feel “shut in.” I’m very lucky—I don’t have time to get lonely. I just wish . . .

I realize how truly fortunate I am to be a writer, able to be on my computer 24/7 if I want to. Yes, my PC is my love, my writing partner, my window on the world. When I take a break, I set the sound on high and it “bonks” loudly if I get email. It takes me online for research and brings me missed episodes of favorite TV programs.

In addition to family, I have friends who insist on carting me around. One is over eighty and keeps saying he can drive as well as ever. He’s right. I’ve been riding in Tom’s car for twenty years. He was always a dangerous driver. When I have to ride with him, I buckle up, shut my eyes and pray that if we do have a wreck, the good Lord will transport me to that celestial writer’s nook in the sky, where the internet is free and there’s no such thing as writer’s block. That will be wonderful, indeed. Yeah, and I won’t have to ride with Tom any more.

I wish I still had wheels.

Happy note: I keep my driver’s license updated, and drive around the farm in one of the pickups. I also drive to the little town nearby, being very careful to steer clear of old folks like me who have ventured out on the road.

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