Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let It Ride

I didn't ask my father that Saturday morning or ever before, as best as I can recollect. It just happened, sudden and unexpectedly, like the best things tend to do.

My father exited the parkway, as he and I had done thousands of time before, and he pulled over onto the dirt shoulder. Then he turned to me, sitting in the front passenger seat, and spoke five words to me that he had never before said in this particular order.

"Do you want to drive?"

I was 13.

For the next few miles, on a relatively straight and wide tree-lined backcountry road, I steered his maroon Oldsmobile Cutlass as best as I could, the strange combination of speed and power rumbling  through the thin rubber soles of my Keds.

No white-knuckle moments came to pass with oncoming traffic or errant deer or, more likely, immobile objects like trees and brick-fortified mailboxes.

There was no cold, nauseating caving of the chest and stomach from the sight of marked Crown Victoria being glimpse in the rear view.

Nothing.

Just me and my Dad, together, cruising through a world standing silently beyond the tinted windows.

When it ended, my father and I never spoke of it again. We couldn’t because our ride had concluded a phrase I was far more familiar with in our household, "Just don't say anything to your Mom about this."

A few years ago, sitting at the kitchen table or in a bar or at a ball game, unexpectedly he brought up our adventure.

"I still don't know why I let you do that. I must have been crazy," he said. "But you were ready."

I like to think that he was right.

Thanks for all the years of believing in me, Dad.

Happy 71st birthday.

* * *

fatherhood friday logo This post is part of Fatherhood Friday on Dad Blogs. Check out this week’s other posts.

23 comments:

  1. I think your dad done good. So did you.

    Happy Birthday Mr. Dad of the Uncool.

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  2. Awwwwww.
    Happy Birthday, Sr. Uncool!

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  3. Very sweet. My husband lets my daughter "drive" the pick-up truck at my father's house. She steers, he works the pedals (because she can't reach 'em).

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  4. I see the legacy of Uncool (which is clearly code for "Actually Really Cool") stretches back generations in your family. Happy Birthday to your dad.

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  5. Thank God it wasn't on the Merritt Parkway!

    You may not be alive today to tell the tale. . .

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  6. Damn, bro...great memory picture. Perfect moment in time, well painted.

    Happy B'Day to the Uncool Progenitor!

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  7. Nice memory, well told.

    Happy birthday to your dad.

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  8. Cool story, Uncool. Happy Birthday to Grandpa Cool.

    Oh, and I would have totally killed my husband for pulling a stunt like that with our son!

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  9. Wow. Great story. A very Happy Birthday to the man who put the Cool in the Uncool.

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  10. That is all kinds of awesome.

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  11. What a cool Dad! Happy Birthday!

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  12. Good story. Happy Birthday to yor Dad.

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  13. Very Cool!

    I gave you one of my weekly awards which you can collect for your sidebar if you like. Happy Birthday too.

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  14. Funny how you tend to remember those moments instead of the big elaborate vacations. It truly is the simple things in life.

    I let my four yeard drive through Times Sqaure. Is I wanted to give her something she would remember forever.

    ;-)

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  15. I remember my first time behind the wheel... only my mom took me on the highway right through town. I had trouble feeling the difference between the gas pedal and the break. I think she learned her lesson! Happy Birthday to your dad!!

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  16. My mom did the same thing one day when we were driving to visit a friend out in the country. I never thought I would get the hang of staying in my lane.

    Happy birthday to your pops!

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