As a rule, the blind avoid driving. However, There is a special computerized system that allowed Dr. Mark Maurer, The president of The NFB, to drive the pace car in Nascar.
The truth is...I have driven. More than once, and in dire circumstances. However, I don't even think about it anymore though, and as a Father's Day tribute, I'll tell the story of the last time I drove, for those of you who don't know.
On Father's Day of 1998, my Father-in-law made one request of me. Bring him my chocolate chip cookies. Erik and I had been married for 6 months and for the first time in nearly a decade, I had a father to make something for on Father's Day. I baked the cookies, bought a special cookie jar, and was ready to deliver them on that fateful day.
For those of you who know Erik, you might know that he works super hard, and he sleeps just as hard. This particular Sunday I needed to get the cookies to Ivins and Erik and I lived in St. George. So here I was with my cookie jar and a mission for Father's Day and Erik
was taking a nap. I tried to wake him, but every time I'd say something
he'd mumble and go back to sleep. This could have gone on all night
long and I was running out of evening light to get to my Father-in-law.In my own defense I'd only lost the beginnings of my sight at that point. My right eye was totally gone, but my left still saw some light, color and movement. I was still in the mind set that I would see again as well.
I still believe I'll see someday, up until this day though I thought it was just one great miraculous treatment away.
As the light drifted through the apartment windows I thought to myself. "I could drive to Ivins. I know the main roads to get there, I know his parents live across from one of the two churches Ivins had then, and there was just enough light."
Crazy when you hear it out loud right? Well in my thoughts it made perfect sense.
I found Erik's keys, my cookie jar, but couldn't locate my shoes. This was red flag number 1 that I was out of my mind. Thinking I could drive a car when I couldn't find my shoes in my apartment.
No matter though. Undaunted I backed out of the driveway and made it to the first corner where I'd join mainstream traffic. It was divine providence that guided me from this point on. I pulled onto 700 south, in St. George and didn't crash or kill anyone. Miracle #1. I got behind a white car heading toward Bluff Street. The light bounced off the white car like a spotlight and I stayed behind it until the car stopped at Bluff. Miracle #2- The car turned and headed toward Sunset Boulevard, I followed. When the white car slowed or stopped so did I. When the white car turned, so did I. Miracle # 3 When the white car turned onto Sunset Boulevard and headed toward Ivins...You guessed it, I followed. With what was left of my sight drilling holes through the white car's bumper, it turned off to head into Santa Clara. This is the point where I should've panicked and pulled over, but when the white car pulled off-Miracle #4 a white pick-up truck turned in front of me, heading up graveyard hill toward Ivins. "Graveyard Hill" should've been another red flag that this was not the wisest of plans. I was feeling so confident in my white guardians though, I kept driving.
As we came closer to Ivins, I lost the white truck, but wasn't concerned. In the dusky light of the day I could see the Steeple of the first chapel I knew marked the road into Ivins. I turned into town.
This is where my brilliant plan falls apart. The road leading into ivins was paved from curb to curb and I figured all I had to do was stay on my half of the road. Well, back then only the first block or so was paved and had curbs, a large portion of town had no curbs or gutters and only gravel shoulders. As my tires dropped off the asphalt onto the gravel shoulder, I'd correct and get myself back on the road, genius right? Wrong!
Some vigilant citizen saw me swerving on and off the road and called the police.
I had no idea, and still drove happily along looking for my second steeple to tell me where to turn to get to Erik's parents house.
Disaster struck again. The steeple wasn't jutting into the sky to show me the way. Evidently along this road a number of tall, steeple like trees lined the road. Lost and somewhat confused, I began circling blocks, very slowly, so as not to hit anything along the way. My circling made me hard to find. By the time I reached My in-laws driveway, a police officer had finally caught up to me.
Unbeknownst to me, my in-laws were watching from the front windows, unable to figure out where Erik was and why I was talking to the police from the drivers side door.
The first thing the officer asked me for was my shoes. "Did you know its illegal to drive without shoes Miss?"
I didn't, but I reassured him it wasn't a problem because I couldn't legally drive anyway. When he frowned, asking me for my driver's license I explained that I didn't have one. Even more confused he asked me to get out of the car.
Well, I lost it. I started to cry, explaining the cookies, my father-in-law, and my sleeping husband.
As i sobbed out my story he walked me to the front door and handed me over to my Father-in-law. When the officer explained about the cookies, my father-in-law cried a little with me, gave the officer a cookie, and then promised he wouldn't let me drive myself home.
When all of the family heard the whole story, the first thing they did was call my husband. "Do you know where your wife is?"
"She's in the living room," he told them.
"She's not. Do you know where your car is?"
"Its in the driveway," he insisted.
"Its not. You better call Ian and get a ride out here."
While Erik was en route with his brother Ian, I'd finally calmed down over the cop business. Now, though I was terrified what Erik was going to do to me. If all he needed was a good excuse to have had it with my craziness, I'd pretty much given him a 'get out of jail free' card with this one.
After 16 years of marriage, I know this was a ridiculous fear to have, but after only six months I was sure I'd blown it. He was eerily silent when he came to the house. Asking in his low, even tone for the whole story. He didn't say much in response, just took me by the hand, put me back in the car, and drove away.
The whole drive was dead silent. Me, wondering if I was going to die, him saying nothing.
We pulled up in front of Denny's and he took me inside. After ordering a milkshake for the two of us, he took my hands and asked.
"Are you Okay?"
I nodded, but didn't say anything
"You scared me to death. You could have been hurt, or killed. I'm just glad you're Okay."
Now you may think this is a story about my Father-in-law and what a great man he is, and he is. He is the only father I had for two decades after I lost my dad. The truth is...This story is about the great man I married. He was my best friend before I fell in love with him. He has always been the best man I've known since my father. I never expected to have a husband, children, or any of the blessings my Heavenly Father has granted me, but Erik is the greatest one of all. He was never afraid of how broken I am. He saw more eternally than I did. He continues to love me, even though I'm more trouble than I'm worth some days.
As I've recovered from transplant surgery he's been nurse, replacement mom, wage earner, picture of patience, and my very best friend all along. He never feels like a great Dad after Father's Day, he only see's what he should do different. He is a great man, not a perfect man, thank goodness for his flawed wife, but a great husband, father, and friend.
I love you Baby, Forever.