short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Friday, November 12, 2010

The Driving Instructor

Since Mommy grew up on a farm, she learned to drive a tractor very young, like many other farmers' children do. Mommy was the oldest of all Grandpa's children, so she was the one who drove the tractor most of the time.

When my aunt Katrina, the next-younger child in the family, became old enough to drive, the lot fell to my mommy to teach my aunt how to do that. Mommy was really big by then and an experienced tractor driver. She had already turned thirteen. She took her teaching task seriously, but I guess she did not think of all the details—as usual.

On the driving-learning day, my mommy and my Aunt Katrina headed out to the field to practice driving. It was a sunny day—perfect for learning to drive a tractor.

When they got to the field, the old Allis Chalmers 1939 tractor, the one that Grandpa, Grandma, and Mommy drive was right where it had been left on the edge of the rows of corn. It was ready to be driven.

Aunt Katrina got up on the seat, and Mommy stood on the ground and shouted instructions to her. Perhaps that was Mommy's first mistake.

Aunt Katrina put her foot on the clutch and brake like Mommy instructed. Then Mommy told her to turn on the ignition, and she did that. All was going very well. At least, that's what Mommy and Aunt Katrina thought.

Then Mommy told Aunt Kartrina to put her foot on the gas and to let out the clutch. She did that, and the tractor jumped up and then forward. Oh, my! Mommy told Aunt Katrina that this was normal. but that if she were to let out the clutch more slowly, the tractor would not jump as high.

Now Aunt Katrina was ready to roll. Mommy told her to practice steering around the edge of the field. Aunt Karen did that. So, all was still going well.

Aunt Katrina practiced and practiced. She became good at steering around the field.

Then it was time to go home. "Okay," Mommy told her, "we better go home now. It's getting late." With that, Mommy started walking back to the house. Perhaps that was Mommy's second mistake.

Aunt Katrina followed on the tractor. Almost immediately, she ran across a barbed wire fence.

"Help!" she called. "How do you turn off the tractor?"

Mommy did not hear her. She had walked too fast and was too far ahead. Perhaps that was Mommy's third mistake.

A few minutes later, Mommy looked around. She could not find Aunt Katrina. She walked back a little bit, and there she found her — and the tractor — all tangled up in the barbed wire fence.

Aunt Katrina had only one thing to say when she saw Mommy. "How do you turn off this thing?" she asked.

At last, Mommy told her.

Conclusion: Do not start something, unless you know how to stop it.

This story is excerpted from a collection of vignettes that I helped Doah, my severely mentally challenged youngest son, to write and publish several years ago (copyright 2003). It was my attempt to help him understand literacy and the purpose of writing and reading.


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.