It was so sad to hear of the passing of one of my classmates, Ray Wheelington. We had some good times in the past. When I heard of his passing, I immediately started thinking of “Ray Stories.” The one below came to mind. After typing the story, it transformed from a “Ray Story” to a “Parenting Story.” What kind of parent are YOU?
Once, when I was 15, before I had a car, Ray brought me home in that green Camaro.
It was after midnight. I got out and he sped down the road. Highway 195 was still a gravel road and I’m sure there was dust and gravel flying. I went upstairs to my room and had just laid down when I heard something hitting the roof. I opened my window/urinal door. (There was no bathroom upstairs. Mom never understood why flowers never grew beneath my window.)
I raised the window and Ray was yelling at me. He had missed a curve and was in the ditch. I didn’t want to wake my parents. I snuck outside and crossed the road to the barn. I cranked our Farmall tractor and wrapped a chain around the drawbar. I brought a flashlight and Ray rode on the drawbar holding the flashlight as we returned to the scene of the spinout. I pulled him out and he sped toward Cross Roads and Hope. Luckily, neither Ray or the car were hurt.
I thought I had pulled off this entire mission without parental knowledge. I returned home to find my dad on the porch rocking in a chair. He said he tried to go back to sleep but his curiosity was killing him. He couldn’t wait until morning to find out why I’m driving a tractor down the road at 1am. He wasn’t upset, just curious. As I explained the situation, all I remember is him shaking his head as he went back in the house.
This began as a “Ray Story” but I after I typed the story, it turned into a “Dad” story. How many of us as parents, could sit calmly on the porch as our 15 year old child drives down the road on a tractor at 1AM? How many of us would be in the vehicle following with the lights flashing and possibly honking the horn wanting to know the story?
When I think back, I guess Dad trusted my ability and common sense to handle whatever problem I was facing. I guess he knew I didn’t have enough fuel to go joy riding. He probably was on the front porch and saw us begin our journey. I wish my Dad was still around to ask these questions.
What would you do and what are your thoughts? What would the AVERAGE parent do?