By Craig Hastings
I’m sitting down to write this at 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning and in just two days my youngest son will get up early and hurry downtown. He will be 16 on Wednesday and on his way to the Secretary of State Office to obtain his Illinois driver’s license. My time spent driving him here and there will be over. He is my last child so my time being anyone’s cabby will be over. I should feel good to be relieved of this parental duty, but I’m not. Two years ago this very same event occurred with my oldest son Payton in the month of July. I remember I wasn’t having any regrets and actually was feeling the same exuberance as Payton. Payton was and is the hot rod kid as was I, but me at an age as early as 13. So I was pleased that Payton was going to get to experience the same rush as I did cruising the same streets of Tuscola as I did. Lukas doesn’t share the same hot rod gene I shared with Payton.
I would walk to Ferguson Motors (Ford) every Saturday morning in the summer when I was 13 so I could check out any change in the inventory that may have happened during the week. P&H Chevrolet was right across the highway, and so it was easy enough to check out what was new in their inventory too. Bill Wolverton was always gracious to this annoying 13-year-old kid when I showed up on Ned Ferguson’s property. It was 1970, and the American muscle car craze was at its most glorious time. The American youth couldn’t get enough of the “go fast or be last” motto that lured them to their local General Motors, Ford, American Motors, and Chrysler dealerships in search of “the car” that would keep them competitive. When a muscle car, new or used, showed up on Ned’s car lot I stayed for hours just to study it, getting to know everything about it. I wanted to learn everything about every muscle car offering from all the manufacturers. I loved all of these cars.
There were so many different engine and transmission combinations to choose from back in the day. Auto manufacturers played up not only their numerous engine monikers but also their paint/striping color combinations made a slow car look fast. Both disappeared by the end of the 70’s. Pontiac was the last to offer wild striping decals with their Trans Am Firebird. Remember the flamed out Firebird decal that graced the entire hood of those cars up until the new model introduced in 1982? A scaled down decal was offered in 1982 on the Trans Am, but it was a third the size of the original that debuted in 1970. Yes I know the Trans Am package was first offered on the 1969 Firebird, but no screaming chicken decal was offered as an option to adorn the hood. And, yes, I’ve owned a few of these cars. As a matter of fact they are one of my favorites, and I own a 2002 WS6 Trans Am still today.
Sorry, I’ve gotten off at the wrong exit! What’s any of this have to do with Lukas getting his driver’s license Wednesday? Obviously it takes me back about 40 years ago when I was getting close to getting my own driver’s license. My parents never complained to me about being gone all the time and I was. I will follow their lead, and I won’t say a thing when I hardly ever see Lukas again just as I don’t see much of Payton ever since he became mobile. Parents that have experienced the last of the nest to a driver’s license; what do I do with myself now? What is my worth in the parenting equation now other than private banker? Did your children drivers eventually come home more often now than they did say; two years after becoming drivers? Do they still want to talk about how it used to be in the neighborhood growing up or is it all about the new places they have traveled in a vehicle? Those places I didn’t get to go.
Will this Wednesday be the day I reset my life’s journey button and plan more things around me than I do my boys? I won’t have to check in as much to see if I’m needed for a ride, I can be out of town longer than a hour or two without worrying than I might be needed to take someone somewhere, and I can leave my house without leaving notes to my still sleeping sons where I’ve gone and when I might be back. Are these not good things for me? I don’t know, but I’m about to find out. Just this week I’ve been trying to make a list of things in my mind that I can now do that I haven’t been able to do for the past 18 years, while I waited for my sons to be able to drive themselves where they needed to be. If old cruising buddies Tim and Jake had anything fast I might invite them out to the old Hangin’ Tree Road for an old fashion door blowing throw-down. Of course they would loose just like in 1973!! Remember the Road Runner! Mopar or no car! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your words of comfort and advice!