Driving in Circles

driving

It seemed that the day would never arrive. A birthday was never a big deal to me, but this one was special because now I had reached the age of consent as far as getting a temporary “Learning driver’s” permit was concerned.

My dad always kept his promises and one sunny weekend morning he asked me if I was ready for my first driving lesson. “Are you kidding?,” I asked excitedly.

He drove the car close to the Sear’s Roebuck’s Gardens on the West side of Chicago. Sear’s whose first store was just a few blocks from the gardens, had cultivated and nurtured these gardens to beautify and enrich the neighborhood. When you walked down the garden paths it was as if you had been transported to an island of beauty. The scents and bouquet of the flowers were intoxicating and in my fertile mind I closed my eyes and imagined myself in Bali or some other exotic clime whenever I ventured there.

The place he picked for my first lesson was a block away from these gardens. It was a vast empty lot, probably a third of a city block long. It had no trees on it (lucky for me) and was strewn with lots of broken glass, potholes, cinders and debris. My dad got out of the car after driving to the center of the lot, walked around to the passenger side and asked me to slide over to the driver’s side.

He proceeded to explain in detail the intricacies of stick shift driving and the coordination of the clutch pedal. I could barely contain myself, as I was bursting with anticipation.

Finally, he told me to make sure the car was in neutral gear, put my foot down on the clutch pedal, turn the key in the ignition, pull out the starter, and slowly depress the gas pedal. The car started but quickly sputtered and died. Instead of blowing up at me, he patiently explained what I had done wrong. His patience surprised me because my dad had a short fuse and I knew the lesson might end abruptly if I goofed again.

I tried repeatedly but the car kept jerking. Either I let the clutch out too quickly or I didn’t give it enough gas. We kept trying, over and over until I finally got it. At times I thought he was going to give up on me until finally I had a breakthrough.

What a feeling… I’ll never forget it. My dad beamed with pleasure as I drove in circles, around and around until we both started getting dizzy. Every ant in the area had evacuated because they thought a madman was loose.

My dad got out and drove stakes in the ground (instead of my heart) and I practiced backing up and parking between the stakes.

After it was over he complimented me and said I did good for my first try but I wasn’t ready for the open road yet. I was on cloud nine and felt 10′ tall. I was now an expert at driving in circles and I felt confident that before long I would be a terror on the highways.

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, “What do I need that for?” But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, “Jerry’s Corner.”

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written … enjoy!

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, “What do I need that for?” But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, “Jerry’s Corner.”

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written … enjoy!

Smiles For All