In Ohio the licensing laws require student drivers to have a certain number of hours before a student can test for his license. My Grandmother Esther lived in Ravenswood West Virginia and I lived in Cleveland Ohio with my wife and kids. Timothy, my youngest son, had his learner’s permit and I decided that some fun father/son time could be had by driving to Ravenswood to visit Gram. This would give Tim some valuable driving experience and knock out the hours he needed to test for his license. Also, teenage boys love to drive and giving him essentially eight hours, round trip, to drive would be fun for Tim.
I suggested this to Tim and said sure, he was up for it so one Saturday, mid-morning we headed for West Virginia. We rolled into Ravenswood about four hours later and we pulled up the retirement home. Tim and I popped into get her. Now let me be clear here, we had just driven fours hours to take Grandma out for some ice cream and we expected her to be so happy to see us; we expected her to jump right up and rush right out the door; yeah, not so much.
She welcomed us warmly, gave us a each a hug and a kiss and then we said , “Gram, would you like to go to get some ice-cram or a bite to eat” and her reply, I can still hear it now, “Noooooh, I think I want to watch John Wayne on the T.V. with my friends.” After which she went and sat down and did indeed watch John Wayne.
I stepped outside and my son followed and asked me if I was OK. I was a tad quiet for a moment and then I realized when I was that age, I sure as hell wanted to be able to decide on my own what I wanted to do on a Saturday afternoon. So I said to Tim, “let’s go watch some John Wayne.” We went in and watched about an hour and a half of the movie with Gram and her friends. When we left we hugged each and every person in the group, Gram last. She then walked us out, called me Darrell (my brother’s name), and off we drove back to Cleveland.
I learned it’s not important that the day go exactly as my little OCD mind had mapped but once we visited Gram, our mission was done, now it was her time and doing what she wanted was what mattered. Also, Tim got eight hours of driving experience.