Little Guy on WheelsWritten by Janette Blackwell
Mamma was a strong believer in heredity, and she believed our family’s German heritage predisposed us to two things: hard work and stubbornness. The gene for hard work lay pretty low in us kids while we were growing up, but stubbornness kicked in fast.
So one might say that what happened one summer evening in late 1940s was all our ancestors' doing.
Daddy was getting ready to go to a church board meeting. Four-year-old Davie wanted to go to board meeting too. (Right from start, Davie liked to go places, while Mamma, Daddy, and I liked to stay places.) We explained that board meetings were for grownups only. He still wanted to go. We explained that board meetings were for board members only. He still wanted to go. We all stood around bedroom, while Daddy knotted his tie and combed his hair, and we took turns explaining what a miserable time Davie would have at a board meeting. By that time conversation was getting heated and tears were beginning to flow, but also by that time Daddy was ready to leave and it was time to leave, so he left.
I watched cloud of dust as little black Chevy coupe sped up hill next to our Montana farmhouse. And then I noticed at rear of dust cloud a tiny figure. Davie on his tricycle was bravely pedaling after. Clearly he intended to tricycle five miles to board meeting.
The Six-Year-Old Truck DriverWritten by Janette Blackwell
When he was six my little brother Davie graduated from driving toy trucks to driving real thing. He persuaded Daddy to let him drive truck -- alone -- across fields of our Montana farm and around farmyard. Davie knew all about truck driving by then. He had seldom missed a movement Daddy or Grandpa made while driving.
It was an eerie sight watching Davie drive that truck, because you couldn't see him. It appeared truck was driving itself. Then you'd locate top six inches of his little blond head above dashboard, eyes peering intently ahead. In those days he didn't drive in a seated position: he drove with his tiny bottom just brushing edge of seat, while his feet grasped for pedals and his neck strained to keep his eyes above dashboard. He drove well, putting his whole body and mind into it. In fact, he drove so well that in fall he was allowed to drive truck, full of wheat, over farm fields to our granary in barn.
That day he glowed with happiness.
When he was eight, he was permitted to drive family car IN THE DRIVEWAY. He would spend entire Sunday afternoons doing so. He'd back car to end of driveway, stop, change gears, drive car forward forty feet to garage, stop, change gears, back car to end of driveway, stop, change gears. . . .