African American teenage girl driving car

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This week’s topic: God’s Guidance

In tenth grade, I won the Drivers Ed award.  Now,  I don’t think I won because I was necessarily the superior driver in our class…I’m pretty sure that it was because of the notebook. Mr. Harold Jude was our teacher, and much to our disappointment, the greater part of our time wasn’t spent actually driving; it was reading about driving.  No, the driving part would come later on—but for right now, he was going to drill us over and over again on the rules of the road.

Part of that process was that we had to do a notebook, and it would count as a significant percentage of our grade.  At the end of each chapter was a long set of questions.  He would make us write the question and then write the answer in our notebook.  Well, Little Miss Perfectionist decided to go the extra mile, typewriting and color-coding my notebook on my old manual Remington typewriter  (a dumpster dive rescue)…black for the questions, red for the answers.  I wore holes in the typewriter ribbon, but it got me an “A!”

At the time, I thought the notebook was a bit unreasonable.  But, an impatient teenager just wants to cut to the chase and hit the highway!  I realized down the road, however, that he was aiming for something other than eating up my free time with his homework assignment:  he was making sure that when we did actually get out there, those rules would be tattooed on our brains!

Among the things he drilled into our heads, Mr. Jude repeatedly said, “No left-foot braking.”  Now, I can’t remember whether it’s an actual code in the WV Drivers Manual, but I think the reasoning behind it was that in order to hit the brake, one would have to take the right foot off the gas pedal to engage the brake, thus preventing an engine surge when the car needed to stop.  It was a hard habit to learn, but all this came to my mind yesterday  as I glanced down and noticed that my left foot was tucked back against the car seat—something I had begun doing 29 years earlier to prevent that foot from creeping up to that brake pedal…just to keep my teacher from scolding me!  In trying to prevent being told I was doing it wrong, I inadvertently began doing it right!

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