Categorized | Opinion

Finally Some Legal Drivin’

By Otis GriffinOtis Griffin pose

Does anyone remember when you finally got your driver’s license at age sixteen and could legally race?
Until then we had been driving for years but it was considered a necessary part of working.  Arvis delivered hogs, corn and cotton per Mr. Solon’s instructions but he followed the designated trail ‘egg-zackly’ or Rabbit would have gotten a whooping.  Big Paul House drove Mr. Eugene’s truck all over whether cotton, corn deliveries or a plow point to be sharpened at Mr. Jones blacksmith shop on the hill.
Bud Graves, Thurman Tim and H. B. drove as well as any grown up, but only if working.  Before you had a valuable license yo’ parents drove you and a passel of friends to the store, Paul Hinesly’s barber shop at Arlington or the Strand show at Millington.
As all my dear Southern acquaintances understand, a certified and registered redneck is often accused of showing off!  But we prefer the term, “making everyone else around us well aware of our presence.”  Sounds more sophisticated.
Delving back in time seemed as if I would never hit my teens.
But the longest spell was to obtain my driver’s permit.  I ‘figgered’ to be just like the big, mean boys and keep a running countdown.  Daddy reminded me with, “Bo, it will get here fast enough and the older the faster it’ll run and then too fast.” As always I didn’t understand why grownups held me back, but I sho’ do now.  How about you?
There was always a crowd of sages on the front porch of Mr. Ben’s store deciphering and analyzing any and all problems.  Not to be outdone, they could tell about the upcoming news on Walter Winchell’s radio show and who was rasslin’ at Ellis auditorium and predict the winners?  How tough left handed Lou Thesz was pinning every opponent and brag how no one had ever gotten out of the Mighty Atlas’ strangle sleeper hold.  Further the brilliant sages knew whose Hampshire hogs rooted out and located the hole under the sorry low swinging wire.
What Don and Emerson rightfully did was pick a time when the front store porch was overflowing with knowledge.  Before you show up at the emporium, scrub hand wash yo’ truck down with blue boxed super suds or yellow oxydol so there ain’t a speck of cotton dirt clods on it.
You had to make sure everyone saw you.  There were only two gas pumps then, blue reg’lar and red high test. (no one used red…too costly.)  When easing of out of the truck always slam the door a little hard so the ground shook.
Then kick the half full water bucket with a crooked, extended snout used to top off the steamy radiator so the bottom slid loudly on the concrete.  Grab that handle on the side of the gas tank like you are mad at it and wring it three or four times like a chicken neck to turn the scroll gas meter back to zero.
Don acted like he got the nozzle handle caught in the cradle and had an awful time dragging it out to squeeze some gas.  Lots of racket.  Very slowly run gas with your back to the crowd so they couldn’t see you all puffed up while they gazed at you.
Now that was a lot of trouble just to let the community know you had turned driver’s license age, but a country boy is proud and delights the world to share.  Just some ole memories of sweet sixteen Southern treasured moments….Glory!

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