My grandson Drew and I both had birthdays this week. Mine was on the 28th and his is the 30th. I guess that makes me two days older than him! I know, I know. He turned eleven and I turned mossy. Actually, I turned eleven almost for the sixth time (minus one year). I can remember when I was his age, but barely. I have to strain my brain really hard. Eleven is a great age, but then so is six times eleven, minus one, especially if you are that old.
When I was Drew’s age, I was ripping up the roads on a bicycle but dreaming of doing that in a car one day. It must have been forty-years later before I turned sixteen! Well, back then it certainly seemed that long. Young people these days view things differently from how we did. Drew hasn’t even mentioned getting his license yet. He is eleven-years old and still hasn’t learned to drive! I understand that many teenagers these days are not all that enthused about getting their drivers’ license. I’ve even heard of some who didn’t get theirs until after they finished high school. Back in my day that probably would have brought on a trip to the doctor to find out what was wrong. Everyone I knew, when I was growing up, took their test on their sixteenth birthday.
I wasn’t necessarily excited about being able to drive on the highways. I had already been doing that for the better part of a year. I was excited about being able to drive on the highways legally! When my father died, that left no one at my home to drive. You see, Mom had never learned to drive and my siblings were all grown and gone. I was an experienced driver because I had learned as soon as I was old enough to reach the pedals. I actually learned in a ton-and-a-half Chevrolet dump truck, with a stick shift transmission. Dad owned a coal and building-supply business, so he had all kinds of trucks and loaders and plenty of room for me to practice. I helped him by pulling trucks on the scales or wherever else he needed. Our house was at the end of a long dirt drive behind the business, so that was a great place to practice. So at fifteen, I drove wherever we needed to go. Fortunately, I grew up in a small town.
I’m kind of glad Drew is not old enough yet to get his drivers’ license. I still can’t believe he is eleven and not two or three. I also can’t believe I’m 103! It wasn’t a new drivers’ license, but I did get another card this year to stick in my wallet. I’m glad I didn’t have to take a test to get my Medicare card. Now I can afford to pay my medical-insurance premium and buy groceries all in the same week... and even have enough money left to buy ice-cream cones for Drew and me! Drew can’t drive us there yet, I don’t have a bike anymore, and Drew only has one Hoverboard, so I had to drive. Anyway, old men can break something on those Hoverboards!
I am thankful for another year of life that God has given to Drew and me. How fun it is watching him grow up and even to remember when I was his age. Thank you God for old men and young grandsons! Thank you to each one who made yet another birthday special for both of us. I feel so young I may go try that Hoverboard again... or I may just eat another ice-cream cone.
—Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.