GALLOPING GRANDMA: Coots on Wheels

By on October 29, 2013

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – On a dull Sunday afternoon some years ago, Mavis Merch was working at the Stop ‘n’ Shop checkout counter when Fred and Flo Finzie entered the parking lot in their 1975 Cadillac.

Instead of slowing down, they kept gaining speed and were airborne by the time they rocketed through the front window, cleared a display of canned peaches and came to earth on top of Mavis and her counter. The Finzies emerged from the car, stepped carefully over Mavis, whose legs extended from beneath the wreckage, and brushed themselves off. Their expressions were oblivious, as if they expected to pick up a few things as long as they were there.

Mavis recovered from her bumps and bruises, and as for the Finzies, they couldn’t get over how ungracious and unforgiving the insurance company was. Accidents happen, after all, and it wasn’t their fault.

I’m aware one of the big problems facing the public today is old-people drivers. There are so many of us today. It can be hard to tell Dad that he should consider hanging up the keys, but families should get a clue after he takes a left turn from the driveway into the kitchen. I know the day is coming when my precious darlings back me into a corner and tell me to take the bus, or stay home.

Sure, my driving record is not without a few ripped-off bumpers, dented doors and damaged garage doors. Once I ran over the lawn mower. However, none of this was my fault.

I remember the Crump brothers from when I was a kid. Elvis and Leon were a couple of old bachelor farmers. Elvis was blind, but he could drive, Leon could see, but he couldn’t drive.

Every Saturday they would hop into their 1938 Graham with their dog Ranger and lurch into town. Elvis would drive, and Leon would tell him where to drive. They would eat lunch at the Senior Center, pick up their mail and then lurch home. One day, they lurched too far and ran over a policeman’s foot. Of course the only one in the car with a license was Ranger. The policeman ordered them to go home and not come back until one of them had a license, or Ranger learned to drive.

Standards for senior drivers vary from state to state. Wyoming has never asked my husband to take a driver’s test, and they’d better not ask me to take one again. Crushing a lawn mower and bending a few fenders is one thing, but until I run over your foot, I’m OK. The AARP says so.


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