The memory is vividly stamped on my heart. It was a really hot Sunday afternoon in 1966 and I was behind the wheel of our bright cherry-red Ford station wagon. Actually, I was on my Dad's lap and just steering the wheel while he handled the gas and brakes. We were two miles north of town traveling west and I can even now see the road in front of us. It was very sandy and the wind was blowing. Daddy told me to turn left at the intersection and so I turned - right. We went off the road and almost got stuck in the sand. Needless to say, that was the end of my first time behind the wheel, but I was ecstatic because I had finally gotten to drive a car!

Fast forward to 2006. It is once again a hot Sunday afternoon. I am behind the wheel of yet another Ford - this time it isn't a station wagon, but a 1987 pickup. Beside me sit two little girls from the big city of Muskogee - Kaytlyn, aged eight and her sister, Tambre, aged seven. I looked at them and thought, “It's time to make a memory”, and so we headed to the country. Kaytlyn was the first driver, sitting on my lap while I manned the clutch and gas. She was confident she knew what to do, for after all she had “spent a lot of time watching how her Daddy drove“. So she placed her little hands on the steering wheel and off we crept. I was surprised at how well she did, and smiled when she began using only one hand while twirling a strand of hair with the other. We came to an intersection and she told me to stop completely and look both ways before going again. (Note to all fathers: your children are observing you at all times!) And she turned the corner perfectly. For Kaytlyn, the time behind the wheel was too short. Not so for her little sister. As far as Tambre was concerned, the road was too narrow, the ditches were deep ravines and steering the wheel took too much concentration. From above, we would have looked like a slow-moving and drunk snake. Only after she slid off my lap and planted herself back in the seat did she decide that driving was “fun”. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I hope that someday they will look back and fondly remember the first time they got to drive - and the memory will be vividly stamped on their hearts.

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I want to thank the readers of my column who have called me, written me notes or stopped me at the check-out counter of the grocery store to tell me they enjoy reading what I write. Your encouragement and kind words are humbly accepted, and they spur me onward and upward. And I truly hope, that in some small but measurable way, something that I say will encourage you, as well.

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We all go about our daily life and we are generally unaware (thankfully) that others are observing us and noting our actions. Even when we don't know someone personally we get a sense of who they are by what we see them do. One such person is Mr. Lawrence Sneed. Even though I don't know him, I admire him. He seems to be a quiet man, but a man with a good heart since I heard he loves animals and cares for many of God's creatures. Without fanfare and through many seasons, he would go to the nursing home and play dominoes with the residents, brightening their lives. And although he must have some mighty physical pain, he keeps on going. Mr. Sneed is one of many who are my examples of tenacity and perseverance even in the face of pain and debilitation, and I want him to know that without knowing it he is a living testament to the prevailing and undaunted human spirit. May God bless you, Mr. Sneed!

Boise City News
P.O. Box 278
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Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
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