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Monday, 26 September 2011

My Lead Foot and My Precious Father

By Maureen Moore

I remember a particularly balmy day in the Santa Monica, California Court when my dad saved me from certain incarceration. You see, my father was an attorney and I was a speed maniac.

After I got my license, I seriously could not understand why everyone went so slow! I knew there were traffic laws but I mocked them with my lead foot. Before I had my "moment of enlightenment," I actually drove 125 mph on the Santa Monica Freeway. When I started to be come airborne in the turns before the tunnel at Pacific Coast Highway, I started to reconsider anything in the 100s.

One Sunday morning I arose, donned my long-sleeved, high-necked church dress, jumped in the car and lead-footed it down the freeway and off to sing in the choir at Malibu Presbyterian Church. It was at that point, on Pacific Coast Highway, that God sent his highway patrol archangel with the lights and sirens to pull me over for a little chat.

The officer asked, "Did you happen to notice you were doing 57 in a 45?"

I said, "Why no, I didn't know that." I don't remember a lot about the rest but I drove off with a ticket and from then on I became the "old lady driver" of all time. However, I still remained clueless in almost every other area of my 17-year-old life.

Not long thereafter came that balmy day in the Santa Monica Court, where my dad, the lawyer, accompanied me to appear before a judge about my speeding ticket. I only remember one thing about this: I found this whole court appearance just hysterically funny. I don't know why. It's clearly NOT FUNNY AT ALL!!

I remember sitting with my dad and the judge. The judge was very serious and was explaining my rights to me. When he got to the part, "You have the right to be represented by an attorney," I lost my mind. I erupted in laughter.

Barely able to breathe, I said "I AMMMMM!!!! (followed by more moronic laughter).

My father - my poor, long-suffering father - quickly interjected, "Your Honor, what she means is I'm an attorney..."

I don't remember a lot after that except the fire coming out of the judge's eyes and that I didn't go to jail.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure if my child behaved like that, they would be beheaded. But my father who was quite a tough attorney as well as a tough man, had a soft spot in his heart for his kids.

One day when we were taking the long drive home, we noticed this one car speeding and ducking in and out of traffic trying to get "there" faster than everyone else. He said, "Honey, it just seems like by the time we get miles down the road, a driver like that hasn't really gained much."

Sure enough, when we got to a light miles down the road, this guy was only just a few cars in front of us! Point taken, dad!

I have never forgotten the gentle delivery of that lesson from my father. He showed extraordinary patience and, believe it or not, the whole experience completely changed me and I forevermore respected all speed limits. It was also just one more reason to love and respect my precious dad.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Dear Maureen,
My passion in life has always been to work with at risk children. I read and enjoyed your story. I wish these children could depend on a Dad like yours.
Michigan Grandma

I love your story and could relate to the gentle, patient dad part of it. My dad was the strictest teacher in our high school, but a pussycat at home. He taught me to drive, and in my entire 79 years, I've only had one speeding ticket, 42 in a 30-mile zone, if you can even call that speeding, and no accidents that I caused!

How fortunate to have had such a wise and gentle dad. My own father died long before I was old enough to drive. I wonder how he would have reacted to my heavy footed driving as a foolish young person.

Maureen, you won't be tempted to speed on PCH if you stick to riding one of Mabel Cook's ponies.

Thank you Barbara, Lyn, Claire Jean and Ann for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed the story. What I wouldn't give to take a drive with my dad right now. Looking forward to that in heaven. For now, as Ann said, sticking to horses and ponies would keep me off the fast track (((

Michigan Grandma Barbara - Good for you and bless you for heeding the call of your heart. What a great thing to have a passion for. The world needs a lot more people like you with a dream like that.

I'm going to pray that you see some dads get inspired and step up to be the very best fathers, husbands and men they can possibly be. Holding a good thought here in CA for you!

My dad was by no means a perfect father. He was flawed for sure. But he was a loving, supportive father who spent a lot of time with me and made me feel special. Thanks for your kind comments.

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