We are reblogging this excellent story by James Osborne, a writer friend from our former residence in Vernon, British Columbia. Gayle has posted the following remark: As usual, I loved the story, Jim. Thanks for reminding me of the experience [of getting a driver’s license] of so many of my small town contemporaries in the same era as you. It has inspired me to post a story about my very different experiences getting my driver’s licenses – while in college in Minnesota, in Germany through the US Army and, much later, in Mexico. That is, if I can find the time to get at the computer. We moved to a larger apartment in our complex [in Winnipeg] and, after almost four weeks, I’m finally seeing the end in sight of the moving-in process. Our blog has certainly suffered from inactivity in the meantime. Thanks for the inspiration.
We’d moved from the country. Out there most kids by 12 were driving around on their farms… driving tractors, for sure, and even cars. I did. So did my older sister.
Farmers needed help from kids big enough to drive a tractor. Being ‘big enough’ was defined as: can your feet reach the pedals? Wood booster blocks clamped to the pedals made that possible for many of us at first.
Empty farm pastures are great places for learning how to steer without hitting anything or anyone, and how to use the brakes, and especially getting the hang of accelerating and shifting gears.
It was a good thing no other vehicles, or people, were in the pasture where my sister and I took our first lurching trials behind the wheel of our tractor and then the family car. Lucky also, there were no light standards, or curbs, or stop signs, or cement…
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