Riding in Cars with Boys

70 camaro

My older sister, Pennye, was always more physically mature than other girls her age. She was tall and lanky, played basketball and ran track, and she was (is) very pretty.  As a result, there were always boys, older boys, hanging around our house.  When she was 14, there were 17 – 20 year olds driving to our house to pick her up. To his credit, my dad was congenial to these young men, yet protective of his daughter.  His normal course of action was to first invite them in for a cup of coffee.  If they declined, he then offered to show them his gun collection.  Much nonsense was nipped-in-the-bud by these two invitations.

This is a good place to point out that, like most fathers, pastors are very protective of their daughters.  Preacher’s daughters, however, usually feel a need to be “just like everyone else.”  That desire often ends up with some sort of over-compensation. Of course, a pastor does NOT want his daughter to be “just like everyone else.” These two  conflicting courses of action collided in our home, my father and my sister, the immovable object and the irresistible force.

The scenario usually went something like this: “Kevin,” a 6 ft. 4 in. lanky 19 year old pulled his bright yellow 1970 Chevy Camaro up to the house. My sister, who had just finished 8th grade, trots out of the house with a “See ya later; I’m going riding.” Two steps out the door, my father yells from the other room, “Pennye…PENNYE!” The door of the Camaro slams shut, and rubber squeals on the pavement.  My father was displeased about being ignored by his daughter and disrespected by her driver.  Not to worry, though. It was his habit to be in the good graces of local law-enforcement entities.  A quick call to the Sheriff’s office located Bonnie and Clyde, post-haste. Pennye’s return to the house was much less gleeful than her departure.  Her face was beet-red and contorted into something resembling “Chucky” from the movie Child’s Play.

Various versions of this event were played out more than once in our home. I have often seen my father and my sister face-off.  Pennye, mid-sentence, would spin around on her heels and walk away in a huff.  The only thing with worse consequences than getting in a man-boy operated vehicle was doing so with cut-off jeans that were rolled up. My father was not so much a prude about wearing short pants, but Pennye liked to roll them up very short.  She would leave the house, rolling them up as she walked out the door to a waiting car.  The consequences of this action led to what would now be considered child abuse. My father reasoned if she insisted on baring her upper-thighs, he would whip said thighs.

Now, with all that said, I would like to point out part of my sister’s rationale. There is some sound logic here. She wanted not so much to ride in cars, but she wanted to drive cars, which the legal system frowned on at age 14.  She wanted to drive, and she wanted to drive fast, so she used her innate feminine prowess to lure unsuspecting, car owning, adolescent patseys.  She would talk them into letting her drive, once departed from home-sweet-home. I made this connection one day when my sister talked my grandmother into letting her drive.  Mamaw was known in the family as a bit of a push-over. She just couldn’t find it in herself to deny her grandchildren.  When Pennye asked her to drive, she conceded.  After all, there wouldn’t be any police presence way out here on these country roads. That lasted only a few minutes before a state trooper pulled her over and asked to see her license.  She confessed she had nary such a thing, and he said something akin to, “Well, you look old enough to drive, but you aren’t very good at it.”

As I alluded to, we lived in the country. Shortly before this incident, we had to have a new septic tank dug. Therefore, there was a very large mound of dirt just sitting behind our back yard.  Of course, Pennye had no money to pay the fine for under-age driving, so my dad had to cough up the dough.  He assured my sister there would be a satisfactory  arrangement made to work off the debt.  She was given a shovel and assigned the task of making the mountain flat. Every day after school, bit by bit, she worked on that hill.  (Although, I remember her offering me a bit of money to take her shift a couple of times).

I don’t want to leave the impression that Daddy and Pennye were eternally at odds. In fact, they loved each other dearly, and she still grieves his loss. My dear sister isn’t quite as fond of driving these days, though.  Years of commuting, sprinkled with a generous helping of speeding tickets, have dampened her enthusiasm a bit.  She now seems to prefer being chauffeured by her husband of 40 years or one of her adult sons.  In addition, she still won’t go anywhere near a shovel.

Isaiah 40:4

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Published in: on December 13, 2017 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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