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Jack R Roberts

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The Wild Ride
By Jack R Roberts
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

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A story about the wildest ride of my life.

It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, sitting there on the car lot shining like a fine diamond, and it was mine!

Shortly after I graduated from high school, I got a job with a major food manufacturer and I am still employed there today, thirty-one years later. I hired on at $3.76 an hour, and became the highest wage earner in my family. In that day it was considered very good money. After I had been there a year I had saved enough money to make a down payment on a new car, one that I had been dreaming of for months. I went down to the local Chevrolet dealer and ordered my brand new 1974 Monte Carlo, it was the car of my dreams. I fell in love with them the first time I saw one, and knew that some day I would have one of my own. I didn’t want to buy one off the lot, I wanted to order one just for me. I got the color I wanted and all the options, and we finally came to a price of $4900.00 for my dream car. The hardest part was waiting for a month to get it. When I ordered it Chevrolet was just getting ready to produce the 1974 models and I was told that mine was one of the first ones off the line. I thought that was neat!

The day finally came and I went down and drove it off the lot. I was so proud! I drove around to different friend’s house showing it off. She was washed and waxed more often that she ever needed to be. Most of my time was spent with that car, indeed it was a dream come true . But this story isn’t about dreams that come true , nor is it about this car. It is about a girl, a beautiful afternoon, and the wildest ride of my life.

As I recall it was springtime in the year of nineteen seventy-five. For six months now I had been dating the girl that would one day be my bride. She was young when I started dating her, and she was soon to start her driver’s education class. She had already gotten her learners permit, and she was supposed to get a little experience behind the wheel before her classes started. Of course me being the boyfriend I was glad to do what I could to help her out.

She seemed to be a little skeptical of driving my new car, and I have to admit that I was a little leery about putting her behind the wheel, but love can make a man do strange things and this would be no exception. She told me that she didn’t really want to do this, but I sort of insisted that she needed to and I drove the car to her uncle’s house out in the country where we switched seats. We went through the checklist of what she would be required to do in her class, seat belts buckled, adjust mirrors and such. After everything had been gone over she pulled out onto the country road and headed west toward what would be a moment in time that neither of us will ever forget.

We hadn’t gone very far when I noticed that she was doing thirty miles per hour down this country road, driving along with one hand on the steering wheel as if she had been driving all her life. I mentioned to her that maybe she better slow down till she gets a little more used to driving. Then with a sort of cocky teenage girl voice she replied, “I’ve drove with Dad!” I’m not sure if her words were meant to give me some sort of comfort, or if they were the defensive words of a very nervous girl who didn’t care for her boyfriend telling her what to do. We were coming up on an intersection where a road teed into the road we were on. As we approached the intersection she made some sort of gesture with the steering wheel and I sat up straight in the seat thinking she was going to turn, she brought the wheel back straight again and then it happened. I don’t know what possessed her to do it, but she then did turn down that country road at thirty miles per hour!

At that moment I experienced something that I thought only happened in Hollywood movies. Time slowed down and the world went into slow motion! Needless to say she didn’t make the turn. As she turned, the car slid in the gravel and hit the shallow ditch on the opposite side of the road giving us quite a jolt, then we started peeling away a barbed wire fence that was on the opposite side of that ditch. As I was leaning back in the seat as far as I could, I was watching fence post after fence post coming up over the hood and over the top of the car, and along with the post all the fencing that was attached to them. Not only did it seem like I could count each post, but also I swear I could count every knothole in each one. I then looked over to my girlfriend just to find that she is looking at me with an expression on her face that said, “What do I do now?” I yelled, “Push on the brake!” she did and the car slid to a stop in the middle of the road.

We just sat there for a second, in shock I think, over what had just happened. I turned to her, put my arm around her and asked if she was all right. She shook her head yes, started crying and layed her head down on the steering wheel. I turned around and looked behind us to find that there was about fifty foot of fence hanging off the back of the car. I told her to try to relax and that I was going to get out and see how bad it was. She had hit the ditch hard enough to knock the tire clear off the rim, other than that the only damage was a busted headlight, that is other than the whole passenger side of the car being scratched up. I told her to just sit there while I changed the tire. I thought about trying to cheer her up by asking her if when she drove with her Dad did he happen to mention anything about brakes, but then I thought better of it.

While I was changing the tire and clearing debris out of the road, for some reason it dawned on me that I wasn’t mad. This little gal had just wrecked the car of my dreams and instead of being mad at her I was hurting for her. I could see her in the car with her face in her hands slowly shaking her head about what she had just done. She knew how much I thought of this car and she had just wrecked it. I felt sick for having made her drive.

When I was finished I got back in the passenger seat and with a puzzled look on her face my girlfriend looked at me and I said, “Let’s go!” She started crying again got out of the car and informed me that she wasn’t driving again! When we got back to her house she asked if I would please tell her parents what had happen, and she took a walk while I explained everything. Her Dad knew the farmer whose fence we removed and he called to tell him about it. The farmer was very nice and said that he was going to take that fence out anyway and for us not to worry about it.

In the end it all turned out all right, no one was hurt, the car was repaired, and I didn’t have to pay for a fence. The only bad part was that I was worried about the insurance so I was a little dishonest and told the insurance man that it had been me behind the wheel at the time of the accident. For this I had to sit and listen to him lecture me about the hazards of driving fast on gravel roads.

We now look back and laugh about that day, me more so than my wife. It was also in a way a learning day for me. It was the day that I realized that a great change had taken place. The car that had been a dream come true had taken a backseat to a new love in my life. And even though I still thought a lot of that car, on that day it became, just a car. That Monty Carlo went on to drive us around town with the horn blowing on our wedding day. It would also see the days that our two children would sit in its back seat in their car seats. As she was rusting away in her later years we nicknamed her the “Old Palooka” She was a good old car and her memory often surfaces for all of us.

Jack Roberts – August 4, 2003

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Reviewed by Tracey L. O' Very 1/24/2005
this is nice. That's neat when you really aren't mad and feel bad and can feel the other person's feelings.
Very Nice story & of being in shock too counting knotholes
and do you know about brakes?? : )
Thank you Jack
Love Tracey.
Reviewed by Susan Barton 8/6/2003
Oh my! That is true love!
Reviewed by Trish - The Trickster 8/6/2003
An excellent story about what truly is important in our lives - the little things money can't buy!
Reviewed by Jackie Brooks 8/5/2003
This is a lovely story Jack, it reminds me of an accident I had, driving along a very narrow English country lane in a long blue Utilabrake van. I saw a car approaching and as there wasn't enough room for both of us, I started to back up slowly towards a lay-by. I didn't realise the back wheel was slowly rising up a hedge bank until suddenly - in slow motion - the van started to topple onto the drivers side. I jammed my elbow into the window and said "Oh God, he'll kill me!" and one of my daughters, about 4 years old at the time, slid over the back of the front sit and ended up standing on a window. All I remember is telling her "get off the window and stand on the wall!" The driver of the car was gob-smacked, I handed him my keys up through the passenger door and he opened the back doors so we could get out. The only damage was a broken mirror and some leakage from the battery. I was quite surprised - he didn't kill me! maybe if there had been more damage....? Jackie <> <
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/5/2003
nice story, jack; thanks for sharing! :) check out my newbie story; just posted the sucker; think you might like it! :) (((HUGS))) and love, your texas friend, karen lynn.
Reviewed by Pamela Kimmell 8/5/2003
What a thoroughly enjoyable story...real life with a real lesson about material things and where their importance should be in our lives. Super story Jack.
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 8/5/2003
Now this is the type of story I love to read. An example of how materail things are not important. Wonderful to have but not as important as our relationship with the people in our lives. You make a great couple!

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