The Lie My Dad Taught Me

We were driving in a remote location somewhere in Northern Ontario. I think it was a private bush road. I can’t remember how many of us kids had been piled up into the 1959 grey Chevy with wings for tail lights. I was sitting in the back seat when suddenly the car jerked and my head bumped to the back of the front seat. I screamed, “What is going on?” Was he going to spank us for fighting in the car or what? Or was there a camp somewhere?

This was another one of his abrupt manoeuvres with his heavy foot. One moment his foot was on the accelerator and the next minute on the brakes! Who knows how many brake pads he had changed in his life time!

I could see the dust cloud from behind, and when he opened the door I almost choked from the poison I had to breathe. Then he handed me the keys and said, “You’re going to drive.” I was totally shocked since I had never before sat in the driver’s seat. Of course, I was excited, but when I pulled myself up to the seat, I couldn’t reach the pedals. So I wiggled to the edge of the seat. I was vertically challenged. He didn’t care.

He walked around over to the passenger’s side. With his gruff voice, he told me to drive, but no instructions followed. He taught by example. I should know how to do it by watching him. Ya right! After I finally shifted into gear, the car moved and jerked. I held onto the steering wheel while my knuckles turned white. I kept a tight grip. The car veered towards the left. Soon we were on the other side of the road. My dad yelled at me to turn the wheel! I didn’t know which way to turn it. Soon the car started to slide into the sloping ditch. Dry brushes and twigs crackled as the machine jerked past tall grassy shrubs.

Then it happened!

My dad plunked his heavy work boot on my size-five foot. I screamed as the car stopped with its long nose halfway in the bushes. What was that? I pulled my throbbing foot, as my dad took the gear shifter and shifted to P. That day my dad taught by demonstration.

The lie my dad taught me was that kids are allowed to drive at age 13 in Ontario. My dad broke the rules by allowing his child drive without permits.

Needless to say, I did get my learner’s permit as soon as I turned 16, and my dad continued the lessons. After driving over all kinds of curbs and parking lot fences, I did get my licence in six months, but only after my second road test! Blame it on the teacher!

This past Sunday was Father’s Day, and I remember my dad just as if he was still here. He graduated to heaven over twenty years ago, but his legacy still continues. I have been in the driver’s seat for decades without any roadside bush experiences. He was my favorite daddy, the only one! I still see him sitting in his favorite chair in the kitchen slurping his coffee from the saucer. Yes, the saucer. It’s the old custom. Using the saucer makes the hot coffee cool faster.

At times he smiled with pleasure or wrinkled his face with worry. Sometimes his eyes burned with anger, but then he forgot what he was upset about. Whatever mood, he made his feelings known by his body language. It was not strange to hear his voice above every other noise. Yet I loved him so much. Could he disappoint me? Yes and he did so many times. He could be gentle as a lamb but also fierce as a growling bear.

Our earthly fathers may have never verbalized how much they loved us, but they demonstrated it by their actions. My dad was proud of me, and believed in me. I like to think I was his favorite.

But above all the noise of the day, our Heavenly Father loves all of us with an everlasting love. He believes in us! Receive His love today.

Pirkko Rytkonen

Wife, mother, and grandmother. Christ follower and seeker of truth. Blogging to inspire and encourage others.

3 thoughts on “The Lie My Dad Taught Me

  1. I’ve got some wonderful memories of my dad too. Of course he had his flaws, but I never doubted that he loved me and we had lots of fun together over the years. He and my mom are missed; that’s for sure.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I know this brings memories of all fathers and their personalities. I honor my father’s memory. He was fun to be around….never a dull moment. I am glad you enjoyed my authentic description of my driving lesson.

  3. Hi Pirkko! I finally got to read about your Dad. It’s interesting and I could feel the emotions
    of a young girl as I read. My Dad was also Finnish, but so very different. He was always
    gentle as a lamb and soft spoken. I never, in all my life, saw anger in him or heard him raise
    his voice at all. But I so remember his nervous look – when he was teaching me to drive – but he showed me and then ever so gently told me how to slowly let off the clutch and slowly give it gas in our old standard 57 Chev. Thanks for the memories!

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