My father loves to drive fast on the highway. He also feels the need to pass every driver he encounters, even if it means going over the speed limit. One day, he and I were driving from Sheridan, Wyoming, over the mountains to Thermopolis where I was about to receive an award for my years of volunteer service to nursing homes and other senior facilities. After several unsuccessful attempts to pass another car on a winding mountain road, I said, “Dad, there’s plenty of time. Take it slow.” I often heard him giving this advice to my younger brother when teaching him to drive, but coming to him from his daughter who never drove a vehicle in her life, he ignored it. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but it’s a wonder we made it in one piece.
With Father’s Day just around the corner, I thought it fitting to post the following prose poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. This was inspired by an incident that happened while Dad and I were driving home from Colorado. Warning: this poem contains some strong language.
I’m sitting in a car going over ninety miles an hour. “If I stay behind this car, I won’t speed,” Dad says. “It’s going under the speed limit.” But the car in front of us turns off at the next exit. The speedometer climbs.
“God damn it,” he says, as he slows down. “I just want to get home.”
“So do I, but I want to make it in one piece.”
“Fuck you! I’m tired.”
“And you don’t think I am?” I want to tell him. “You don’t think it’s exhausting, speeding down the highway with you, watching you fiddle with the tape deck and consult a road map when both hands should be on the wheel, your eyes glued to the road?” Hallelujah! We’re home at last!
What do you remember doing with your father? Please feel free to share your memories by leaving a comment below.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver