My mother didn't drive at the time, so my father took me down to the Motor Vehicle Department to get my driver's license in 1961.
At the time, the road test was not given on the streets of Albuqurque, New Mexico (where I live), but the road test was given on a course laid out at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.
"Drive carefully! Remember...it's not only the car that can be recalled...but the driver can be recalled as well." Price Cobb
My father had helped me to buy a car, so we went down to the Fairgrounds to take the road test. I was, obviously, nervous as I had never done anything like this before. We waited in line, of course, and got all the preliminaries out of the way, and then waited again for the driving instructor to call my name, etc.
When he did, I was ready to take the big driving test of my life, and my father would wait until I was finished.
Me and the driving instructor headed out to the parking lot, where the car was parked, and he checked it out, to make sure everything was in order...and it was. He told me to begin the test by driving all along the fence of Central Ave., and then make a right turn along the San Pedro Street. I was to head north to the far end of the Fairgrounds, and make a right turn at the Lomas Blvd., and head east.
We were about as far as you can get, on the grounds, from the Motor Vehicle office, when the worst thing happened...I RAN OUT OF GAS! That's right! The car came to a slow stop...and I glanced over and I could see the anger in the instructor's face! He was furious that I had run out of gas...as he quickly jumped out of the car, and slammed the door shut!
He looked around, and he hitched a ride with a grounds maintence crew back to the office, which was way on the other side of the fairgrounds, etc.
"Why do they call it rush hour...when nothing's moving?" Jeff Foxwhorhy
I was mad at myself for letting this happen; humiliated; embarrassed, etc. What was my father going to say and do? I got the gas can out of the trunk, and began the long walk back to the office. But, before I told my father what happened, I decided to go and get the gas and the car, and then tell him, and this way, he would only kill me ONCE...instead of killing my multiple times if I did it the other way!
As I walked, I was kicking myself over and over again for doing something so stupid like this and not checking the gas, etc. I got the gas and put it in the car, and drove it back to the office, where my father was waiting for me. I knew my minutes were numbered on this planet, when I would tell my father what happened! I knew I would be in heaven soon! (Pray for me!)
When I told my father what happened, he didn't say anthing, but I could see it in his eyes...he was furious! And, now we would have to wait longer to get the license! We waited...and waited...and waited and finally my name was called again, and my father went up to the counter to face the same instructor!
I could still see it in his eyes, the driving instructor was still mad...as he peered and sneered over at me, and making motions with his hands. I couldn't hear what he and my father were talking about, but I'm sure it wasn't pleasant. He explained to my father what he was going to do, as he signed some papers.
When finished, my father came over and told me that the instructor was not going out on the road course again with me..and that he didn't ever want to see me again! (Gee...I wonder why not?) He was still boiling over, I guess, but he gave me my driver's license, anyway!
I immediately jumped to my feet in celebration! I got my driver's license...you hear me...I got my driver's license! My father was not in a celebratory mood...and he was not too excited about anything at that moment, either! Now, I can drive home all by myself! I don't think was too happy about that, either!
* * *
In the year 2008, and at the tender age of 63, I've pretty much retired from driving. But, there are times when I think about how I got my driver's license, and I get a chuckle or two. It wasn't very funny back then in 1961 when I got my driver's license...sort of! But now, I can get a little laugh out of it.
"Ahhhhhh...so many pedestrians...and so little time!" Robin Williams
After 47 years of driving...I've never had an accident. I'm pretty fortunate and I count my blessings!
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