Sunday Driver: “One who drives slowly, as for leisure or sightseeing.”
Every Sunday afternoon, I recall clearly because I was at the “I want to learn to drive” age, my family went for a leisurely country drive. I wanted a turn, but…No.
My Father failed to see the utility of a woman driving, not a woman of his household. He was so staunch in this view that my mother never learned to drive, even when my sisters pooled their money to give her lessons as a birthday gift. Instead she continued to rely on rides with friends, which I feel was sometimes an excuse to not attend a function: “I can’t get a ride.”
It was also a covenant of my parents’ marriage, I think – and how can one quibble when their union lasted beyond 60 years. It was a symbol of his authority and her containment within. He was portable, she was flexible, and so it went. Today is the 9th anniversary of her last day of being fully alive on this earth. At least as fully alive as one could feel with the limiting effects of a stroke.
It was a Sunday; it was Father’s Day – she was alive to honor him, as she always did.
Which brings me back to the Sunday Driver phrase. The Sunday afternoon drives were ritual before I yearned to yank the wheel away.
My dad would usher all of us kids into the car, carefully assigning space, and drive hither, thither, and yon among the gravel roads in the flat farm country of northwestern Indiana: muck land it was called, rich soil for growing wheat, corn, and soybeans, the backbone of food for animal and man.
He never opened a map, which caused me much consternation. I often yearned for a map of life situations, busily working at the task in classrooms, Scout meetings, 4-H, and home. I admired and feared these lengthy drives simultaneously. I admired and feared my dad.
I marveled that we always arrived at home within a two hour frame… In my adult life I have recognized that he was providing my busy homemaker mother with a much-needed Sunday nap.
Good purpose drives a good life.