by Terry Hargrove
When I turned 16, all my friends assumed I would get a driver’s license. So did The Dad, my brothers and sisters and my girlfriend. The pressure was intense, but I resisted. There was no need for me to drive, since all my friends had cars and they seemed to enjoy driving a lot, so I just went along as the designated passenger. It was great. And since gas cost 27 cents a gallon in 1971, I saved literally dozens of quarters by not driving.
Still, I received lots of concerned stares from my classmates. They didn’t understand, and I couldn’t tell them. I was terrified of driving. I had only driven a car once, in 1972. David Simpkins and I were in the drive-through lane at the Dairy Delight, when he jumped out of his car to talk to some girls just as the car in front of us moved up. I sat there as the car behind me began to blow its horn. I waved at the driver, but he just honked his horn again. Probably an out-of-towner, I thought.
“Pull the car up,” shouted David. What choice did I have? There were girls present. I broke out in a cold sweat, slid over, threw the car into drive (I think it was drive. There was a D in there, somewhere) and pressed the accelerator. David‘s car jerked forward and plowed right into the side of the building.
“I’m OK,” I wheezed. “I’m not hurt.” Continue reading