While I was “plundering” to pass time this week, I came across the outline of a story I had written years ago. The words caused me to remember an experience that Mom and I shared during my senior year in high school. That was a very cold winter; the kind that would cause one’s breath to freeze when trying to talk.
The words I found were scribbled in ball point pen on the back of a notebook. I had no trouble filling in the blanks as I read the messy writing, even with some of the words scribbled in shorthand. I remembered the experience I outlined quite well. Basically, this is it. Mom had worked for a few years full time at Itawamba Manufacturing in Tremont. She decided to take that winter off. Because of a big order that came with a deadline, Mom’s former supervisor contacted her to see if she would come back to work and help them out.
Several of the women in our neighborhood worked there and they car-pooled. I was the one who would have to drive Mom to meet her ride. She talked to me about the 6 a.m. drive that meant I’d have to get up earlier, go out into the blistering cold, take her to her “ride” and get back in time to dress and be ready when the school bus came by at 6:45. It was a short distance I had to drive her, but I barely met the bus schedule as it was. I had my doubts I could do it in time allotted, and I dreaded it. Mom knew that.
“It will make things hard for you in the mornings I know, but it won’t be for long,” she said. “And,” she added, “It’s good to learn to do things that are not easy because that’s life.” I knew I must do it. And, so it was, January of that year saw me at 6 a.m. each morning, cranking up our ’57 Chevy and driving Mom to meet her ride. Mom was never late for her work ride and I was never late for the bus. She and I always shared a close relationship, but during that time I could tell my mother began to see me in a different light. I was no longer just her little girl. I was out of my comfort zone and doing ok. I didn’t enjoy the experience exactly (at all!) but I proved I could do it.
She and I both learned lessons from the experience, the greatest one being not to forget to buy the liquid that would zap frost off our windshield. One morning I had to drive with my head hanging out the window because the windshield was iced over and we had used all our “de-ice.” My nose gets cold just thinking about it.
I didn’t complain about my cold driving duty because I had heard Mom tell of farm chores she did before she went to school, no matter what the weather. I reasoned that I had rather drive with my head hanging out the car window than to milk a cow on a frigid morning. She would say to me as we would start out, “It’s nice to have a “personal driver.”
As long as Mom lived, on colder than usual days she would say to me, “Aren’t you glad you don’t have to drive with your head hanging out the window this morning?” She also told me she was grateful that I drove without her having to demand that I do it. That was in a time when kids didn’t complain too much when they were told to do something they didn’t want to do. I could have complained but in the long run I doubt if it would have done any good. I’m glad I didn’t find out.