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Some Kids I Have Known
Learning to Drive

My cousin, who served in the Korean Conflict,  came home with a love, of all things, a Jeep. He was so impressed with their ability to maneuver he bought two of them. One was a plain blue but the other was an exciting bright yellow. We lived in the country at the time so most of my driving was over the dusty roads back and forth to the mail box, up to the bus stop in the morning with Mother beside me, over the pasture, or up the long drive to our house.

Four in the floor made me have to go from first down to second, then from second up to third. The last gear change was straight down to fourth. One had to push the short stubby gear shift up to the middle neutral then over to the right and down to reverse. Driving a Jeep is the ultimate way to learn to drive an automobile.  The freedom gives an incredible feeling. In the summer the doors were left off so it was a simple matter to hop out of the vehicle. Opening gates for cattle made this a big convenience.  Rough terrain was just for laughs. I was never allowed while driving to run up and down the river bed or down the tall banks of the river as my cousin did. It was enough to be able to cross over a bar ditch or bounce out across a plowed field.

A teen age girl driving a Jeep into town to the country store was the greatest attention getter one could have. Boys were reduced to begging in order to be allowed to drive the vehicle. We children were always given trust, and if we did not disobey, our privileges were never taken away. I knew no one was to be allowed to drive the Jeep and I didn't even think of breaking that rule.  “What!  And give up my opportunity to drive it?  I don't think so.”

Later when I was older running errands  when we were living on Gramma's place in the country allowed me the opportunity for  learning  to drive the folk's pick-up truck.  It was a new Ford but still had a stick shift.  It was easy to drive even though it was a large pick-up truck. Again, being careful not to break any laws made it possible to keep my driving rights.  One day the  mistake was made of turning left off main street in Ponca City which wasn't allowed at the time. A cop stopped me. He seemed convinced with my talking and apologies so didn't write a ticket. My folks never knew about that one. They would have known though if there had of been a ticket involved.

The greatest story to be told was the summer my uncle paid me to drive for him. He was a dealer in artifact's and Indian souvenirs. He had a warehouse he filled in the winter with hand made crafts from the Indian people. He kept in contact with the folks who had shops all over the state. During the early summer was delivery time. This was before tourist season started. Of course, he tried to cover as much ground as possible with the deliveries. It was great fun to get to see so much of the state in Oklahoma, Texas and some of Kansas. My Uncle owned a new Buick and we skimmed over the miles so easily. He was completely confident with my driving and usually  napped, enjoyed the scenery, or straightened his paper work. The open road was mine. It was a wonderful experience.  Uncle always wore his boots, Stetson hat, and western suit in order to present himself as a serious minded business man. I, on the other hand,  was free to wear whatever. Those were the days before air-conditioning in cars. Dressing like a tourist gave me the advantage of comfort.

That was the summer I saw so many of the beautiful resorts in Oklahoma from Thunderhead Lodge to Spavinaw, Grand Lake, Claremore Gun Shops, Elk City and many more. If there was a gift shop my Uncle knew the folks there. They always greeted him by his first name and were glad to get the hand made Native American crafts. To be paid for the experience allowed me to buy my school clothes for the next year. The summer of 1956 was for beautiful memories.

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