H. Neal Glanville: Adventures of rites of passage
It’s one of the few things that all of us share. It doesn’t matter if it was age- or deed-related, we’ve all suffered through the rites of passage.
For me it was getting out of Mr. Brown’s sixth-grade class and preparing myself for the mysterious world of junior high school. The seventh grade was a bitter disappointment, as was most of the eighth and ninth grades. Somewhere in those three years, I decided that reaching 16 and getting my driver’s license would be my official rite into manhood.
Back in the olden days, Driver’s Ed. was part of the school’s curriculum. So, each day, we had an hour of classroom instruction. Most of the kids in my class already knew how to drive, so we found the book instruction boring and somewhat insulting to our know-it-all attitudes.
All we wanted was to get behind the wheel of those brand new V-8 Plymouths. Our first days behind the wheel were spent in the school parking lot, doing really exciting three-point turns, backing up, using just our mirrors (got an A in that one) and my personnel favorite, parallel parking. Then it came, our day in the sun, or traffic depending on your seat in the car.
There’s something about being 16 and getting behind the wheel of a car whose speedometer says it will go 120 miles per hour. What’s a boy to do? Well, two boys did it. Bill Williams and yours truly came along side each other at 33rd South and State Street. We didn’t bother with the usual jump start – we just kept going faster and faster, staying side by side, our little escapade lasted about a block.
Mr. “what’s his name” grabbed my right ear and all, and about pulled the poor thing off. We were both asked to leave our respective cars and take a city bus back to the school. Needless to say, we both failed Driver’s Ed. Bill got his license the following year, and I got mine the year I turned 21.
Some rite of passage that turned out to be.
My first “legal” deer was another passage into the world of “how come it’s always me.”
As all of my uncles and cousins (even the worthless ones) were leaving to go hunting, I was stuck sitting in grandpa’s Diamond Rio truck waiting and waiting. The sun had been up for three days by the time he finally drove us out to the apple orchard. I could here rifle shots coming from everywhere.
There was no way I was going to get a deer. My stupid cousins would come back with record mulies, and I’d be stuck in this stupid apple orchard with nothing but my heart beat.
“Let’s get in the back” grandpa said, as he started getting out. We climbed into the back, and grandpa pointed toward the Indian tree – that’s where we tied up the girl cousins.
“He’ll be coming through there to lay down” grandpa whispered. Ya sure? I thought.
Then he was there. Try to imagine a 90-pound boy hefting up a 30-40 Krag taking aim and ka-plow. It took several minutes to get back up and several more to focus on my first deer. But there he was. Mine wasn’t the only one killed that day, nor was it the biggest, but it was mine.
Until next time :
Yup, there I was surrounded by cry babies when I said to myself, “Self” I said, cuz that’s what I call myself when I’m talking to myself. “You’re a firm believer in standing up for what you think is right. Doesn’t matter who thinks is wrong. If you think it’s right, then stand up.” On April 15, I was standing up.
Thank you for your time.
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