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Hartselle Enquirer

Driving used to be a thrill of its own

Ask any parent and they will tell you there are times they feel like nothing more than a taxi driver.
Whether it’s ferrying children back and forth to ball practice, birthday parties and school, it seems like you’re always on the road to somewhere. That, coupled with the everyday commute we have to our jobs, and it takes all the fun out of driving.
There was a time when that wasn’t the case. There was a time when the mere act of turning the key in the ignition was enough to make your heart skip a beat.
My first car was a small white hatchback and I loved it. It was nothing fancy but it was all mine and that made it great.
I’d had a minor traffic incident as a 15-year-old (minor in this case means running into five cars in a parking lot, but that’s a whole different story) so I had to wait until I was 17 to get my license. It seemed like all my friends were cruising down the highway while I still had to have my mother riding shotgun.
Given my driving history, you can imagine that my parents were a little reluctant to let me get back behind the wheel. When they did, it was with some pretty tight restrictions.
The first couple of months I had my car, my mother limited me to driving around the neighborhood, which was comprised of nothing more than a few blocks. Windows down and radio up, I would cruise around the neighborhood. I’m fortunate the neighbors didn’t report me for casing their homes.
The fun back then wasn’t in the destination, it was in the act of driving itself. It seemed magical to turn the key and then be transported to a new place.
That’s not the case now. Instead of enjoying the fun of driving, we spend more time griping about traffic or the price of gas. Still, every so often, something happens to remind us of what fun being behind the wheel used to be.
Sutton asked me the other day if she could drive.
I told her she could when she was older and that I would teach her.
“I know how to drive,” she replied. “You turn the wheel, honk the horn and press the radio button.”
I think Sutton’s on to something. Her version of driving certainly sounds more fun than mine. And one day, maybe I will let her drive around the neighborhood, too.

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