Time for another written test
It was a 1983 Ford Ranger. It was mostly white, with an AM radio, vinyl bench seat and a “thing” that would blow air. I often told people the truck came equipped with a 2-60 air conditioner; two windows rolled down, going 60 miles per hour.
That was my first vehicle.
My dad had purchased it when I was about 12 years old or so as a work truck around our property. We loaded limbs and debris in it when we cleaned up after a hurricane, or used it to pull items out of the woods as we cleared land.
It had a 4-cyclinder engine that had as much pulling power as four lethargic gerbils, but it did the job.
At about that age, I learned to drive the “four on the floor monster,” running it up and down the road we had cut through down to the river front, and making brief excursions out onto the dirt road when I had to take the trash cans to the street.
But with all of its warts — and Bondo, and primer — it was mine.
To this day, I can remember proudly taking that truck to Foley, Alabama, to the satellite courthouse for my driving test.
The written test was something I had taken and aced a year earlier, so now it was my time to show off my driving skills.
There was the usual merging into traffic, the proper use of turn signals, abiding all of the speed limit signs and even braking, which at the time required I first look in my rear view mirror before pressing the brake pedal.
Then, for some reason, in rural Alabama, the tester asked me to parallel park.
“Ma’am,” I meekly asked. “Please parallel park.”
“Where,” I next asked. “Right over there,” she said, pointing to the curb on a side street, where two cars just happened to be parked.
For the next five minutes and 41 small turns and tweaks, I made it in the spot. To think about it, the truck was so small and light it would have been quicker had I simply pushed it in the spot.
Regardless, I passed.
All of this is to say, that the past few days driving through Vicksburg have tested all of my driving knowledge. I have had to remember what to do at an intersection when traffic lights are out, as many were and still are following Saturday’s storms.
I had to remember that when the light is flashing red, it is a four-way stop. When it is flashing yellow, keep going, but slowly.
Then, there are the intersections along Halls Ferry near Pemberton that have been the most challenging.
What exactly do you do when six lanes of traffic are converging and no light is flashing at all?
It appears locally, it’s stop, close your eyes and just go.
Seriously, thanks to all the crews working to restore power to our homes, and to our traffic signals. We need you — and the power — far more than you know.
Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.