When Cindy turned sixteen, she was so excited about driving and immediately got her driver’s permit. Before they even started to get under the wheel of her car, Annie required the children to take Drivers Education in school. She continually told her daughter that she needed much more driving practice before she tried for her license. She most certainly did not mean that she would have to be in the car with her while she was driving. She left that task to her husband, Jack.
Jack thought, “How hard can it be to teach Cindy. It’ll be a breeze. I taught my youngest brother how to drive and if he could do it, anybody can.”
Annie refused to even ride with them during these sessions. She had briefly ridden with Cindy and knew how bad it could be. She had white knuckled it the whole time she was in the car and her foot practically put a hole through the floor board from her braking on the passenger side of the car, not to mention that it gave her the worst headache she had ever had.
Jack was sitting in the passenger’s seat as his daughter backed the car out of their driveway. Although, it was without incident, she had almost hit the mailbox and the garbage can which happened to be on opposite sides.
“You don’t have to be in such a hurry, slow down,” he said. “I am barely going over 30,” his daughter answered.
As his daughter signaled and made her right hand turn, she went over the edge of the curb and made a loud thud. Calmly he said, “That was a little close, Miss Boo.” “No it was not, Dad. It was perfectly fine. You just expect too much.”
He swallowed his words and let her keep driving.
“Okay, stop up here, turn off the ignition and start up again.”
“Dad that makes no sense at all. Why and when will I ever do that?”
“Right now, to please me.”
“Okay, if I must.”
She stopped and then reached for the key in disgust and started the car.
“Boo, you need to check all your mirrors before you start the car.”
“Dad, the mirrors are perfectly fine. I’ve been driving around for thirty minutes and those mirrors haven’t changed one iota.”
He reached up and moved the rear view mirror, then got out of the car and moved the back up mirrors.
“They have now. Got it?”
“Got it,” she said.
This type of situation went on for weeks. Jack never showed any aggravation or frustration. Annie knew that he’d had just about enough of his daughter’s attitude and poor driving skills.
He announced to her that afternoon, “Annie, you will be taking Cindy tomorrow to try for her license. She can not possibly pass. I need for her to fail, then maybe she will listen to what I am trying to tell her. Sometimes she is the most bull headed child I have ever seen.”
The next afternoon, Cindy looked like she was going to a fashion show not the Department of Transportation to get her driver’s license. She wore a brown suede jacket, mini skirt, tights and a pair of brown leather boots that laced up the front to her knees. Jack thought, “At least she will look good when she fails.”
“Dad, I don’t know why you can’t take me. Mom makes me nervous. Besides, she won’t even let me drive there with her in the car.”
“I told you that I had something else I had to do, so if you want to get your license, I suggest that you take Mom or no one.” Cindy let out a loud moan, but she wanted that license so bad, she would have gone with anyone, even her Mom.
When they arrived at the DOT, they took a number and waited like what Annie thought was endless hours. Finally Cindy was called to take her eye and written exam. Annie wasn’t even sure she would pass them as to her knowledge, she had not even looked at the driving manual. Her daughter had announced that she did not need to, she already knew it. She must have been right because amazingly, she passed.
Now they waited for her to take the driving portion. A very young state trooper called her name and said, “ You might as well show me your skills on parallel parking Miss Knox, cause if you can’t park it, you can’t pass it.”
Annie gave a sigh of relief, because she knew that Cindy had yet to make the car fit into a space inside those red cones. This would be the end for her. Over, zilch, no license.
“Those are sure some good looking boots you are wearing,” the Trooper noted.
“I swear,” thought Annie, “that old man is flirting with Cindy. Well I never, I should report him.”
Truth was the trooper was barely 21. This was his first gig with the Pennsylvania Highway Patrol.
Annie thought, “My daughter is blushing and she is playing up to him. As I live and breathe, she is flirting with him. Wonder if this is why she wore those boots?”
Miracle of miracles, with the trooper’s guidance, she slipped her Mom’s old Nash station wagon between those four cones.
“Well I do declare, Miss Knox, you parked this old car with great perfection. Okay, let’s see how you can drive this big old bucket.” He slipped back into the passenger’s seat. Annie started to open the back door to get in.
“Sorry, Maam, you’ll have to wait here. The driving test only involves Miss Knox and the inspecting officer.
“Inspecting officer my fanny, all he wants to inspect is my daughter,” she muttered under her breath.
She looked up and saw her daughter driving down the street just smiling like an old cheshire cat at the trooper. She saw the car’s right turn signal light go on and watched as her daughter took off a good portion of the curb. Her daughter stopped and shifted gears. The old Nash humped and bumped and made a loud stripping noise. He can never pass her now. She sat on the bench for almost a half hour. It was a particularly humid and hot day. She had to put on her sunglasses to keep the sand gnats out of her eyes. She just knew that that old trooper had abducted her gorgeous daughter. If he doesn’t come back soon, I’ll report him to his superiors. Finally Cindy pulled up in the space reserved for “passed drivers”. Annie could not believe her eyes. Cindy jumped out of the car and ran excitedly toward her Mom. Annie heard the trooper call out to her, “ Congratulations Miss Knox. You are Pennsylvania’s newest holder of a driver’s license. Be careful now. I sure do like your boots.”
“See Mom, I told you I could pass it. Can I drive home?”
“Absolutely not. You know nothing about driving but a whole lot about flirting. Drivers license or no drivers license, you can’t drive without your Dad in the car for at least six more months. Who knows, maybe even longer.”
Cindy didn’t care. When her brother, Ed, came along two years later, he had to do it in two tries. The trooper who was a much older man said to her, “ Your boy is a perfect driver. I just don’t like to pass them on the first try. You know, boys get so cocky.” Annie thought, “Too bad Ed hadn’t wore Cindy’s boots.”
Annie would have been good to her word and not let her her daughter take the car out without her Dad in the car forever, but Jack vetoed her on that one. True to her word, however, Annie left the teaching of driving skills to Jack. He taught both the boys without her in the car. Years later, she realized that her daughter was a good driver and she had never had an accident. She also realized that she had probably been what one would call an over-anxious Mom. Go figure.