Watching dad drive away…

By Staff
Leada Gore, Editor
There are two moments that stand out in my mind.
The first involved my step-son Derek backing out of our driveway for the first time, driving off in his own car. His dad and I stood and watched him until his car was just a speck in the distance. Then we went inside and waited for him to call and tell us he’d arrived at his destination.
The second incident occurred years earlier. I was drafted to take my sister to get her driver’s license. I did so, confident that anyone could see she wasn’t ready to drive on her own. This feeling was reinforced when, upon returning from her test and parking the car, she drove over the curb. You can imagine my shock when she hopped out of the car with a big smile on her face and announced she had passed.
Both occasions left me weak-kneed and questioning the exact nature of our driving laws. Still, I imagine my feelings were nothing compared to those standing in the DMV line last week in Langley, Washington. It was there that Alden Couch, 101, passed his driver’s test. The occasion was reported in news outlets throughout the nation.
It appears Mr. Couch had once possessed a driver’s license and drove around town in a Model-T. An active fellow who enjoys dancing and dominoes, he used the occasion of his 101th birthday to retake the driver’s test and head out on the open road.
Mr. Couch says he passed the tests with flying colors, adding he “sailed through” the parallel parking portion of the test. After receiving his driver’s license, he cruised over to the local senior center, where he enjoyed a birthday party complete with cake and special music. He then drove himself home where he was greeted with well-wishing phone calls on both his birthday and his new-found driving freedom.
Mr. Couch’s son, Bill Couch, is 64. He said he was glad the state opted to give his dad a license, but admitted he sometimes drives behind his dad to make sure he’s driving OK in his six-year-old Impala.
And in a true measure of optimism, Mr. Couch’s new driver’s license doesn’t expire until 2012. He will be 106 then and his son 69.
I hope Mr. Couch is still driving then, though admittedly I’d prefer he not be doing it near me. I also hope his son is still following his dad to make sure he’s OK.
After all, you let these youngsters out of the gate and you never can get them back again.

Eva

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