The great exchange is happening at our house this month. My farmer and I will be handing over car keys to our 16-year-old daughter who will be getting her driver’s license and for the first time driving on her own, well in town at least. I won’t say how far back, but several years ago, my farmer began teaching her how to drive on the turn rows and back roads surrounding our farms.
This was a new concept for me having grown up a city girl, who never drove until the coach that was teaching my summer driver’s ed course, said ‘Shelley, it’s your turn.’ Back then (did I just say that?) we took driver’s ed the first two to three weeks of summer. School would no more have been released and we were back in the classroom that next Monday morning, early mind you, reading, listening to instruction and watching videos. Our lessons would eventually lead us to the road for our driving hours. Looking back, what brave men those coaches must have been taking a group of city kids that most likely had never driven before, and putting them behind the wheel of a car!
The day I turned 16, my mom took me to get my driver’s license. I distinctly remember taking off out the front door, jumping in my mom’s stick-shift, Toyota hatchback and driving off by myself for the first time. Never mind that I was 16 and driving a mini station wagon. I didn’t care. I was on my own! And I remember that feeling, that moment like it was yesterday.
My farmer on the other hand, learned to drive at a much earlier age than even my daughter. His driving skills were needed to move equipment, drive a tractor and sometimes a truck. (I won’t reveal how little, I mean old he was the first time he drove a truck.)
Our two different experiences have brought some debate in the Huguley household: to drive or not to drive with or without a license. On the one hand, it would certainly be illegally convenient if we allowed her to drive before she was legal. On the other hand, it’s against the law. Did I mention that already? Never mind that I’m avid rule-follower but I wanted our daughter to have that moment, the feeling you have when you get something for which you’ve been waiting. My farmer, on the other hand, doesn’t relish such romantic memories of his “first drive” and the hundreds that followed.
We finally came to this conclusion: I learned to drive as a right of passage, the next big step in my self-consumed teenage life. He learned to drive to work. No special memory of the first time he drove. No romantic flashbacks about driving a 1950 Case DC tractor. Driving meant work, not cruising. So, while my daughter may have helped move equipment on dirt roads prior to receiving her license, much to her dismay, we have held out for the legal document, the moment. And in the meantime, I’m looking for a hot Toyota hatchback to make that moment complete.