#48 Well, No One Was Hurt

Because of a late summer birth date, I was one of the last of our class to get my drivers license. Since I learned to drive in our little red family Volkswagen, it was ironic that the only thing I didn’t ace was parallel parking.

As in most towns, it was the teen custom on Saturday nights to “cruise the ville.” The only places to cruise in the ville were the A&W, a hamburger joint, or the Y. I hadn’t yet earned clearance to venture out to a lake or beach. So what. There were still a couple of weeks of summer. Hallelujah! I could finally drive.

On a Saturday night with a couple of friends and my newly minted license, I did the “cruising” behind the wheel. Nothing much going on at our first stop so I was backing out (I can hear reverse grinding now) as I ever so gently tapped into the green Volkswagen of a neighbor/classmate pulling in behind us. No damage was done.

I found forward gear and continued on chattering away with my friends. Radio blasting. But not much going on at the next stop, so I reversed again, only there was another tap. Unbelievable. It was the same kid in the same green Volkswagen with his buddies. They weren’t following us. There just weren’t that many places to go. We inspected the fenders in the dark but luckily, and again, we both squeaked by with no noticeable damage.

My friends and I buzzed out to another hang out. Our friends who had dates were on their dates, so there really weren’t that many kids to find. This time when we left, there was a metal crunch. And yes the same green Volkswagen. But now there was an unavoidable dent. I drove my friends home, very carefully, heart pounding, to face my father. Or maybe they went with me for moral support.

When I got home the news of an accident was delivered immediately to my father who was relaxing in a bath. He levitated out of the tub. Dripping in his Pendleton bathrobe and slippers, he ran outside. To my happy surprise the kid in the green Volkswagen arrived to take whatever was coming right along with me.

My father’s red face was enough to make my knees weak. But the boy (initials G.O.) took equal responsibility for our not one, not two but three dings in one night. (We may not have volunteered the first two.) By now there was a small crowd in the street by our front yard, which meant witnesses for me. My father was a man who commanded complete respect whether he was wearing a dress suit or dripping wet in a robe and slippers. You could hear the group exhale for blocks when he proclaimed, “Well, no one was hurt.”


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