First Taste of Freedom

My brother, sister and I were standing at the edge of the garage. We were waiting for our mom and dad to come back home. Eventually our parents pulled up in our old, blue Oldsmobile. The year was 1972 … and my mother had just gotten her driver’s license.

I remember thinking, “Yay! Mommy can drive now!” I was just a kid but I distinctly remember being excited for her. You see, her own mother – my maternal grandmother – had never even learned how to drive. Why, you might ask? Because when my grandmother was young, driving was considered the man’s job; the idea of a woman driving herself around was laughable. At least to the men it was.

But times were changing … and so was my mother. So there she was – in her thirties – finally getting her driver’s license for the very first time.

My father was leaving soon for a two week mission trip so my mother getting her license was actually kind of a necessity. I don’t know if my father would have “allowed” it otherwise. I would like to think he would have … maybe in another twenty years or so.

It’s so strange to think about now; I take driving for granted. It seems like a no-brainer; you turn sixteen and you get your license: male or female.

But even today, I have an uncle who likes to poke fun at my husband for “allowing” himself to be driven around by me. My uncle has even joked with my husband over whether or not he can even drive because so often my husband is seen RIDING with me.

In our house, it’s very simple. If my husband and I are going somewhere in my car, then I’M DRIVING. If we’re going somewhere in his truck, then HE DRIVES. I don’t understand why the older, southern folk find that so difficult to grasp.

But anyway, that old Oldsmobile will always be iconic in my mind. That was the car in which my mother got her first taste of freedom.

Drive Momma drive.

It’s ironic because my mother is indeed the one who does all the driving now. And my father has resigned himself … to the passenger’s seat.

“Never underestimate the mind-altering power of driving alone down a long, windy road — with the windows down and the music up.”