Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

August 19, 2013

Before cell phones, there were plenty of distracted drivers

Before there were cell phones, there was still distracted driving. I thought of this recently when a friend told me about a bumper sticker she’d seen. “Driving under the influence of four sons,” it said, and she thought of me and shared it.

Any adult who’s procreated and takes their offspring, well, anywhere, knows the truth of this. If there are children behind your shoulder blades in a moving vehicle, there will be distractions. Period.

Back in the Paleozoic era when moving pictures were young and no seat belts were required, it was chaos. In the case of one local family, it meant five young children in a station wagon, the rear end of which hung over into the next zip code. Five children, unbuckled, unrestrained, milling around like a batch of hot worms. Two parents up front, banging their heads on the dashboard.

OK. So I made that last part up, but I know The Five, so it could have happened.

Anyway. For my family, it meant three of us in the back of a custom-painted Ford Econoline the size of Reno County that had bench seats and a table. This gave us all kinds of room for rioting and rumbling.

Over in the station wagon, they had a ritual. The kids would act up, fighting about things like who sat behind Dad last time and who’d wiped a bugger on whom. You know — standard stuff. Then somebody’d throw a punch, sides would form, and you’d have a civil war.

And that’s where the dad came in. Hearing the uproar, he’d swipe one meaty arm through the seat in the back, thundering the warning that’s now become a family legend: “Now, it’s time …”

All at once, revival would fall in the second row, a full Pentecostal one, shades of Acts. Those kids would go from fightin’ to prayin’ in 0.7 seconds with requests ranging from full invisibility to, “Oh, Lord, please make me faster than my sister if Dad actually stops this car.” Or that’s what I was told by one of the “rioters turned pray-ers” who was there.

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