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Life in the Sweet Lane: Driving Miss Betty

At the end of the day, I need to make sure there are smiles on two faces, God’s and Sweet Al’s.

Whatever the Lord has put before me, and that includes my Sweet Al, when I say goodnight, I need to have peace in my heart and a smile on my face, too.

Between morning and evening, there is a lot of angst going on, especially riding with Al. That means driving off and on the road, twenty in a sixty and sixty in a twenty. He is fast on the upshift and slow on the uptake.

I sit beside him with my white knuckles and fingertips digging into the dashboard, my feet pushing through the floorboard, and my heart is beating like a drum.

I was riding with Al to town last week. He was all over the place.

I looked over at him and said, “You are driving me crazy, I don’t trust you anymore on the road. I use to feel safe with you. Once I didn’t worry about getting there in one piece. Now, I’m not so sure if we’ll even get there. You used to be an excellent driver. Not anymore. If I ever get out of this car in one piece, I’m not riding with you ever again.”

He didn’t pay any attention to me. He was straining his neck, looking everywhere but the road.

I screamed, “Al, you almost ran us off the road. What are you looking at?”

He looked over at me and said, “I’m looking at you, my darling.”

Just then the light bulb went on.

“I’m not buying it, you’re not looking at me; you are looking for turkeys, aren’t you?”

He winked and grinned.

I’ve got his number. I raised a skeptical eyebrow. I know what’s coming. It’s turkey season. He is coming down with hunting fever again.

In years past, Al has cut our vacation short in order to be here and ready for opening day of turkey season. When he sees a bunch of wild turkeys, he gets a wild look in his eyes, a smile on his face and his trigger finger is twitching.

I’m no fool; this is not the smile and a happy face I’m looking for at the end of the day.

We live in a place where we see wildlife every time we leave our driveway. How can I blame him for looking everywhere but at the road? The elk are coming down from the mountains, the wild turkeys are nesting right off U.S. 84 and you never know when a mountain lion or bear will make an appearance.

He’s driving me crazy. He makes U-turns in the middle of the road when cars are coming. He backed up a mile on the highway to see if he could put horns on a doe. And, all the time, I am sitting beside him wondering if a semi-truck is going to plow into the back of us.

I tell him, please, don’t do it. Does he listen?

No.

My threats last until I get out of the car. The next time we go to town, I’ll ride with him again. I know Al will be looking for turkey and I will be pushing both feet through the floorboard again.

And Sweet Al, at the end of the day,when I crawl into bed with this old turkey, I cuddle up with him as he watches the ten o’clock news on the outdoor drive-in movie screen, which looms from my beautiful cabbage rose armoire.

I look over to see if Al is smiling, then I check to see if his body is still warm and I listen to hear if his heart is still beating. I stop to think: Have I done everything I could to bring peace and well-being to this old turkey hunter?

If I did, then its been a good day.

Final brushstroke: Girls, turkey season is here. That feeling of angst has come again. We need to remember turkey fever season doesn’t last forever; the fever will break and, at the end of the day, there will be a smile on two faces, God’s and Sweet Al’s . If they’re smiling, I’m smiling.

Artist’s quote

“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” — Oswald Chambers.

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