Caution and Luck

I am a very cautious person. It’s one of the main reasons I’m still around. Caution, and a big old slice of good luck pie.

I learned to drive when I was 15. When I turned sixteen, my Dad told me to drive down to the triangle and get a loaf of bread from Hurley’s grocery store.

I drove at 35 mph down there, plunked down .59 cents for a loaf of sunbeam, got back in Dad’s little green Ford Fairlane, and promptly backed square center into one of those stinking huge light poles that they surrounded with two tons of cement.

I drove 25 mph on the way back home…

It was another 3 or 4 months before Dad let me take the car out again. I drove about 2.3 miles to the house of a girl I wanted to date. I was shy, and awkward as hell. I couldn’t think of things to say conversation wise, so I drug out my guitar and sang to her. It was kind of embarrassing and I’m sure a little strange.

Doubly so, because I flooded the car out when I started to leave, and then when I pulled out of the driveway I accidentally pushed the accelerator down too hard and “dug out” of the driveway. I did make it home safely. From that point on, my driving skills improved, and I can say without a doubt that since then I have logged hundreds of thousands of miles. Mostly cautious miles.

Since I got blackballed at the old local industrial complex, I ended up living in Trion and commuting out and back to work in various cities for about 38 years.

I worked for five years selling medical supplies all over North Georgia. My territory was huge. I put in 150 miles a day most days east….it was a great job the first three years, but not so great the last two. I had a lot of close calls those years, but lucked out and had no accidents. I did however, not latch one of the side panel doors one the supply truck one day before I took off to Calhoun. I don’t know when it flew straight out. I didn’t notice I was spilling bandaids and antibiotic ointment all over the roadway on 136. I only noticed when I turned right on River street and sheared the door off on a telephone pole. That was a hard one to explain to the boss. I was able to backtrack towards Trion, and I ended up finding most of the supplies.

I went to work for Big B Home Health care, and they gave me a new van with their logo on the side. I got to drive it out and back to Rome every day because I was on call 24-7 to deliver Oxygen and O2 supplies to people who needed them. I came home one day and parked it in my steep driveway on ninth street. I was in a hurry, and forgot to put on the parking brakes. I looked out a few minutes later, and the van had jumped out of gear and had rolled down the driveway, across ninth street and jumped the curb across the street and rolled 30 more feet into my across the street neighbors back yard, right next to the back alley. Nary a scratch did it have. Looked like I had just parked it there. I went over and drove it out the back alley and back into my driveway. This time I set the parking brakes.

Like I said, caution is the key….along with a big old slice of luck pie.

The Cedar Tree and Love

I would like to do as we used to do when I was young and unknowing. Go off into the woods and saw down an old cedar tree and bring it into the house and decorate it.

Most of the time we’d go to Mr. Kellet’s farm, where we bought milk, and he’d let us cut one. Back when I was very young, eight or nine. The smell of those trees haunts my memory now, just as the happiness and innocence also haunts me. I knew nothing then of the world beyond my doorstep. I didn’t realize the terrible things going on out of my little inner circle.

But, they were out there. Not as obtrusive and as evident as they are to me now in this 67th year. But there nonetheless.

I watched my three little ones in their innocence and happiness this morning, and I wondered how life will play out for them. I’ll only be here for a portion of that, but I’m concerned. I know the things I have seen since my time as a child in the fifties as compared to today. Such a vast change. Such a different world. A sandpaper world now compared to my smooth white paper one.

Of all the unknown quantities which lay ahead for them, I cannot even guess. All I can do is love them, hold them, and let them know they are cherished now. So loved. Perhaps if they are able to retain some of those memories in the future, it will give them strength.

Just as I went down in the woods today to a spot where a little cedar tree was growing and put my face close to it and breathed in deeply…and momentarily was comforted. All would be right, all would be alright. Just for a moment.