For more than twenty years, my sister Beth has been pretty much out of contact with the family, and for the last seven or eight, we’ve had no way to reach her. But she is on our minds on a daily basis.
Some days, the memories are stronger than others.
Beth was the one who taught me how to drive a standard, to drive with a clutch. Today that isn’t as big a deal, given that most cars are automatic anyway, but at the time, it was the difference between spending $4,000 for a new car, or more than $5,000. A 25 percent increase in cost. I’d just bought my first new car, and it cost me about $4,000. Problem was, I couldn’t handle the clutch.
My parents had spent three years teaching their children to drive, and they were weary of it. So my sister, who’s a year younger than me, took over. Patiently, she took me out on the roads around our home. They were hilly and winding, perfect for learning how to drive a four-speed.
If you’ve ever tried it, driving a standard takes practice. It’s a challenge to get the timing of releasing the clutch and hitting the gas just right. You stall one hundred times for every time you inch forward. You fail and fail, then one day, you get it. It finally just works. My sister stayed with me until I reached that point.
She was seventeen, I was eighteen. We weren’t best friends, like some sisters are, but we were loyal to each other. I hope she knows I’m still on her side. No matter what, she is my sister, and I love her.
And I’m forever grateful for knowing how to drive a standard, even though I don’t expect I’ll ever do much of it again. It’s power.
Image Credit: © Vclav–stock.adobe.com
2 Replies to “Drive!”
I have never learned how to drive a standard. Didn’t grow up with them in our family, and had no friends who drove them so there ya go. No exposure = No experience. That being said, I think it would be a cool thing to learn. I don’t know that I’d ever want one full-time, but to learn the skill sounds like a challenge one would feel good about succeeding at.
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I found it to be a good life lesson on perseverance. Besides, it’s really fun to drive a standard!
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