By Kathe Campbell.
Kicking back on the deck with a cappuccino, I watch nature unfold all her treasures. It’s not for everybody, but it works for me while riding herd on wild critters and journaling fond memories. Except for the dog and kitties, I’m alone now and can’t imagine upending everything I love to merely linger somewhere. It would take six men and a boy to drag me away from the Lime Kiln drama that unfolds before me daily.
Though my bod has gone south, my mind is still hanging in there. Enjoying four-score plus, I like standing on my own two feet in newly found independence, one of the hardest chapters in the art of aging. Nurturing my sensibilities usually keeps me too blessed to be stressed. But alas, the world is full of fools and malcontents, and I pondered what kind of bumbling fool a certain crude woman thought I was–a day I’d almost rather forget.
An approaching birthday had steered me toward my driver’s license renewal. Entering the Examining Station’s door, the crusty woman was chiding two old codgers about taking their driver’s exam over again and producing letters from their doctors. I felt sorry for them, even a little smug knowing I wouldn’t have to face that dilemma. Like me, they had probably driven forever, for I’ve jockeyed everything from loaded cattle trucks to Harley’s, but never faster than my guardian angels could fly.
Reminding me of days driving with my dad when I turned fifteen, the room was packed with teens taking written tests for their first driver’s license. I felt their excitement and hoped to get the nice lady from before who had zipped me through the renewal process in jig time.
Lucky me, I got the raucous sourpuss who’s face would have fractured with a smile. Not acknowledging my cheery hello, she ran on mercilessly… “I see you’re limping, have no arm, and the other hand looks deformed. Are there any other impairments you’d like to tell me about?” A sudden lull flooded the room as curious faces ogled me.
“Grr,” my inner self growled, “she has it in for me,” but I managed a courteous response. “I’m recovering with a new hip, I’ve been driving for nearly seventy years, the last twenty with this hook, and though my left hand is drifting with rheumatoid arthritis, it’s strong.”
“Sorry ma’am, but you don’t look strong enough to drive anything,” she persisted. “You can’t even hold a pen, so you need to take the driver’s test again, and we need a letter from your doctor. Meanwhile, no driving unless accompanied by a licensed passenger.” The war was on!
Facing one another across a desk, my optimism spurned a pleasant glow while the woman’s dark clouds were gathering bitter storms–there was the rub. “I’ll show her who can drive,” I mumbled to myself while trucking up to the clinic… alone.
After briefing my rheumatologist/neighbor about my plight, I asked him for a good strength test on my limbs and a letter. Wielding leg weights and strong-arming doc with matronly brute force, he grinned his approval and began dictating. His letter all but qualified this old prune for the Olympics.
Back to the Examining Station and the killjoy all dolled up in her patrol jacket, ready for the kill. Off we went, turning, checking mirrors, me braking and her barking a slew of orders, changing lanes, more driving, and lastly, parking. Leaving the woman thunderstruck, I thrust my prosthetic arm into the steering wheel, spun it around, and backed my truck perfectly into a parallel spot in front of the courthouse. I was tempted to mention it took Noah forty days to park his rig, but thought better.
A pleasant demeanor at my challenging task had resulted in success, but sadly, none of it rubbed off on this dismal soul. Maybe the poor thing was fighting some awful personal battle. Submerged in self-pity and lost in a swamp of discontent, she abruptly lowered the boom. “I will be adding a restriction to your license not to drive in inclement weather,” and oh how she reveled in her charge.
I drove away knowing that the Lord’s love covers our secrets and hurts, depressions and worry. He is faithful even when we aren’t, and it would befit her to realize there is only one God and quit applying for His position.
The doomsayer’s version of house arrest hadn’t dampened my course, for she was only partly aware of my 7,000 foot Lime Kiln Road–where we’re plowed at the drop of a snowflake–where we satirically call ourselves winter and August–and where this proud hinter lander is far and away nobody’s fool.
KATHE CAMPBELL lives her dream on a Montana mountain with her mammoth donkeys, a Keeshond, and a few kitties. Three children, eleven grands and innumerable greats round out her herd. She is a prolific writer on Alzheimer’s, and her stories are found on many ezines. Kathe is a contributing author to the Chicken Soup For The Soul (15), Cup of Comfort, Not Your Mother’s Book series, and numerous anthologies, RX for Writers, magazines and medical journals. firstname.lastname@example.org