The first thing that
came to mind when I got up this morning at 5:45 was my mother.
With three of her friends she took off Monday morning on a driving
vacation to Mexico. All four have been to Mexico many times,
but this was their first time to drive there.
My mother is 84.
She is the senior of the group, but the other three have also
been Social Security-qualified for years. To be a little more
accurate, the youngest of the four could work, if she wanted,
and it would not affect her Social Security. I can't think of
any other way to say it and not get myself in trouble, should
they read this article.
When I tried to tell
Mother that I thought that it would be much better to fly, especially
with the fares being so lowand what if they had car trouble?she
asked how did I think she took care of herself before I was
around to advise her.
My mother has always
been independent and daring. She drives a five-speed red convertible,
and I'm talking standard shift. When I was a kid we called a
car like that four on the floor. Well, this one is five on the
One day she decided
she needed a new car, and she wanted a red one. The first she
found was this five-speed convertible. She was already 80 and
hadn't driven a straight stick for many years. The salesman
gave her a lesson on operating the manual transmission. But
the only gears she could remember afterward were first and second.
So she drove home using just those gears, and then learned one
new gear per week until she got them all. At least she says
she did. I cant recall her ever using more than three.
A similar story happened
when she bought her first car in 1935, at the age of 18. She
didnt know how to drive at all then, and was living with
her parents in El Rito, a village 60 miles north of Santa Fe.
She bought the car in Espanola, about 30 miles away. The salesman
gave her a quick driving lesson, and off she chugged, back to
her parents home. When she arrived, she parked with the
front of the car against the fence that surrounded the yard.
The next day when she needed to drive to work, my grandfather
had to take down the fence, because neither he nor my mother
knew the car had reverse.
Anyway, off went
the four senoras to Mexico, while I stayed behind to worry about
how my little mother and her friends were going to handle the
highways down there. Immediately bad thoughts came to mind.
I mean, I can just see my mother or one of the other ladies
trying to change a flat tire. I would be willing to bet my mother
doesn't even know where the jack is in her car.
I can picture my
mother, as the senior of the group, giving instructions to one
of the other ladies. "Now, get under the car and put the
jack under the axle." And that lady saying, "Where
is the jack?" and my mother saying, I dont
know. In some cars the jack is in a special compartment
under the floor of the trunk, and in some cars it is not in
the trunk at all. Should they be lucky enough to find the jack
and position it in the right place, and if somebody has the
strength to jack the car up, well, then I wonder who is going
to take off the lug nuts. Maybe they thought all this out before
they left. But I have my doubts.
Im not too
worried about the bandits that occasionally rob tourists. Im
sure my mother could talk her way out of that situation. "Listen,
you bandido, I can see her saying, I have a kid
older you and I can handle him easy, so don't get me mad.
I know she's having
a good time while I'm fretting about her. And when she gets
back, I'm not going to say a word, because if I do she will
just say, "Now you know what I went through when you were
growing up." Touche.
I'm glad God only
gave us one mother. Can you imagine trying to worry about several
at one time? I know, I know. I can just hear you mothers with
more than one child telling me what its like. But I can't
imagine. Anyway, will I ever be glad when my mother gets back!
Mom, I promise not to bother you in the future if youll
just promise to get home safe.
Have a great day.