You already know that my sister and I loved and respected Dad with all our hearts. We listened to his stories and followed his instructions as much as we could. Dad is the one who taught us to drive a car and he was such a good driver that we always felts very safe when riding with him.
So, when it became obvious that Dad should not be driving any longer, my sister and I were stumped. There was absolutely no way we were going to take away his car keys or his vehicle.
Our stepmother Beatrice handled the situation with avoidance: refusing to ride with him. Any time they went out, Beatrice insisted on driving. Her driving was not much better than the average drunk as she went over curbs and came down on lawns. Since Dad still had his license and his car he was happy.
Then one summer day, when our stepmother was out of town, my dad said:
Let’s drive down to the Church Mouse.
The Church Mouse was an antique shop about fifteen miles out of town. It was located in an old church and we always enjoyed going there.
I told my dad as we walked out the door to what I assumed would be my car.
Dad said and from his pocket he produced his car keys. I remember thinking to myself, “This may be my day to meet Jesus,” for there was no way I was going to tell my dad that he couldn’t drive.
On the way down, Dad did fine. He drove slowly and things seemed to be going well. We looked around at the Church Mouse and then headed home.
As we were driving on one of the country roads, I noticed a car heading toward us. Unfortunately, at the same time, I noticed that Dad was in the left hand lane: directly in the path of the on-coming car. Although on the inside I was screaming, on the outside I calmly said:
Dad, you may want to steer over to the right hand side of the road. There’s a car coming in the other lane.
Dad turned the car over to the right side, and we avoided a head-on collision. I was so happy with myself for not panicking and for treating my dad with the respect he deserved.
As far as I know, Dad never drove again. However, he always had his license, his keys, and his car. Loving someone is sometimes a balance between safety and respect. I’m glad neither of these virtues had to be sacrificed.