Skip to main content

Off Track Driving


Got stuck in traffic yesterday in the middle of Tampa's new Sinkhole District (I-4). Next to me was a car that literally sat inches from the passenger door. The occupants were probably in their 80s ... thick glasses on the driver's nose ... the top of his wife's head was just barely visible above the dashboard. My heart sunk for a minute as I glanced over. I could have sworn it was my dad.

Fortunately for the entire country it wasn't him. He was resting comfortably at Menorah Manor without access to any motor vehicle.

It wasn't always that way ... of course. And his reputation for bad driving didn't start when he was an old man. There were numerous stories about his driving. Actually ... it wasn't only his driving. When I was about 10, he slammed my fingers in the car door and didn't realize it until he drove down the street (with me running as fast as I could ... screaming). He backed over my father in law's foot when he was getting something out of the trunk. And although the cars he owned were covered with dents, he always managed to come away unscarred.

But these stories all pale in comparison to the accident he had that caused me to take his keys away once and for all.

About twenty years ago, we were visiting the parents in New Orleans. I noticed that their car was gone when we pulled up. As we sat down at the breakfast table I questioned him, "Hey Dad. Where's the Buick?" 
Dad answered ... "At the shop."
"Having problems?"
"No ... just needed repairs."
"What kind?"
"Just repairs Joel ... don't worry about it."
Mom chimed in ... "He hit a train."
Me ... "You hit a TRAIN?"
Dad said ..."ESTHER ... just be quiet about it."
Mom .... "Sam ... Joel needs to know about this. I almost DIED."
Me ... "You were in the car when he hit the train?"
Mom ...."No ... but I almost had a heart attack when I found out."
Dad ... "I DIDN'T HIT A TRAIN."
Me ... "That's a relief."

"The train HIT ME ..."
I wasn't sure how to respond to that.
"... the train hit me. It was HIS fault."
I REALLY didn't know what to say to that.
I tried anyway ...."Dad ... how could the train be at fault? If he hit you ... you must have been in his way."
"It happened pretty fast ... but he definitely hit me... and now ... THEY WANT ME to pay for the damages to the train."
I brought out a pencil and a piece of paper. "Okay," I said as I started to draw, "Here's the track ... and here's you ... where was the train?"
He drew his car ... "I was stopped in front of the electric arm ... it came down in front of me ... when the train hit my car right here (on the driver's side)."
"But that stops you IN FRONT of the tracks. You must have been on the tracks."
"I was IN FRONT of the sign and the train HIT me."


Well ... we ultimately drove to the two way side street where the accident happened and as I looked at the electronic arm ... it came to me. Dad had driven on the wrong side of the street. When he stopped in front of the sign ... he was sitting on the tracks looking straight ahead. He was lucky to be alive. That was the last time I let him have his keys.


He wasn't happy and he insisted he needed the car to get around. But my son Josh had the answer. "Don't worry Grampy ... I'll give you rides".

HIM ... I trust.

Comments

Chrissy said…
Oh my! I'm dreading the day I have to take away Dad's keys.
Joel Momberg said…
That's a loooooonnnng way away.

Popular posts from this blog

SAMMY: The Novel (An Overview)

I finished writing Sammy:The Novel. 

So ... I called my good buddy and excellent writer, Dave Scheiber, to help me write an overview to pique the interest of publishers. The stuff that Dave wrote made me want to read my own book! We combined our efforts and here's what we came up with:

SAMMY (An Overview)

Sammy Levine, 86-year-old resident of Star of David nursing home, was not happy with his daily existence and dreamed of taking one last trip with his wife Esther (presently residing in an urn on the third shelf in his room). Sammy was careful about not exposing his plan to anyone, especially his son, Barry, who dutifully visited regularly and tried to make sure that he lived out his remaining days comfortably.

Through a carefully choreographed plan, Sammy managed to access personal information on three recently deceased residents from the nursing home’s computers. Then he applied for and obtained three new credit cards. Armed now with available cash and credit, he loaded up Esth…

Close Call

I was just putting the finishing touches on my new novel, Sammy, which will be available to order in November (shameless self promotion!) ... when I started thinking about some of the characters in my past life. One character I've actually written about in the past just popped into my head. It's a repeat story but I hope you enjoy it ... again.

When I was a Freshman at LSU, our dorm was set up like a suite with two adjoining double rooms and a common kitchen and living room. "Suite" really makes it sound much fancier than it was. Actually, living room makes it sound much fancier than it was. The walls were cinder block and the living room was about 100 square feet. I don't think four of us could even stand up in there at one time.

One of the four guys in our suite was the place kicker for the LSU Tigers. His name was Phil and he was from Bogalusa, Louisiana. He had the bed next to mine. Phil was about 6'8" and weighed well over 300 pounds. He was a big …

Princess Grace's Diary

We surprised our little princess, Grace on Friday with a last minute visit to Savannah. She and her BFF Stella had a joint princess birthday party.

It was of course no surprise to Deb and me that the trip had a few surprises for us, too.

It started out with a light show at the airport (we chose to fly rather than drive the 12 hours back and forth for one day). Lightning strikes were coming fast ... so the tarmac was closed until it settled down. We had to get to Atlanta in time to catch what had become the LAST flight of the night to Savannah at 11:20 PM.

We made it ... barely ... and fell asleep at 2 AM.

Up at 8 and out the door via Uber to The Landings (a mere 45 minute drive) and just in time to see this adorable duo.

Big brother Cole was  one of the "hosts".

Pony rides were there for the guests.

Matching Princess cakes (of course).

Lots of fun.

At about 2, Deb and I headed back to the airport with Nikki driving and made it in PLENTY of time to find out that there were n…