#16 of 31 Slice of Life...The Mystery is Solved

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge.
"So, Julie, how dark does it have to be before you turn your headlights on?"

That was what my dad said to me 35 years ago when he walked in the door one evening.  I remember the night so well.  I had just gotten my driver's license and it was the first time I was allowed to drive my sisters to town in the dark.  This was big for me.  Mom and Dad were going out and so the three of us girls decided to go out for pizza.  My mother reminded me of all the things mothers remind their children to do when they have this increased responsibility.  I was determined that I wouldn't let them down.

We made it to town safely, had our pizza, and then headed home.  I couldn't figure out why people kept pulling out in front of me.  I was getting irritated with all of the irresponsible drivers out there until I glanced down at the dashboard and realized that my lights weren't on.

"Don't tell Dad," I made my sisters promise.  We made it back before my parents got home. Whew, I had dodged a bullet.  I was pretty sure my secret was safe until my dad walked through the door and asked me the above question.

"Who told you?" I asked him.
"I'll never tell," he replied.
"Was it you?"
"No, it wasn't me.  Someone we know saw you."

And he never would tell me. Every once in awhile in my adult years, I'd ask him who saw me driving without my lights turned on and he would always say, "I'm not going to say."

Well, last night, the secret came out. We were eating dinner with Mom and Dad, sharing stories and laughing around the table.  Dad said to my husband, "I'll never forget..." and he started to tell the story.  Apparently, HE was the one who saw me.

He proceeded to tell Keith the story, seeing me driving around Bryan with no headlights, and then coming home and asking me how dark it had to be before I turned my lights on.

He thought it was hilarious.  Back then, I was pretty sure I was going to be grounded forever.  It seems he took it all in stride, knowing that I had learned my lesson and would make sure to not make that mistake again.  I saw a new side to my dad last night.  He was pretty strict with us when we were younger, never giving an inch.  I guess, that maybe, he did give an inch once and awhile.

And to be honest, (and I know it's silly), I'm glad to finally know who the mystery driver was.

Mom, Dad, and me last summer


  1. How great you got to see that secret side of your dad! One of my favorite memories of my dad is of how sympathetic and kind he was the first time I drove in snow...and got stuck in my friend's neighborhood. he just came and got the car out and followed me home. No lecture, just help. It meant so much!

  2. Are you sure that was Uncle Sweetheart? I remember his reaction when I sang at the table about 45 years ago. I adore our family.

  3. I love this "slice" you wrote about your younger years. This is a wonderful memory, and I hope you will share it with your parents. I love the picture you added at the bottom of the blog post, too. I can see the love you share in your family. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you found out the "mystery driver," also!

  4. Your dad thought the story was hilarious and so do I. Of course, I haven't been in suspense for 35 years, but what answer could be more satisfying than that he is the one who saw you? I love it! Great story! I suspect I grew up in a much bigger town (Miami) so when I was 16 and went to pick up my brother from work and was driving home without lights, it wasn't my neighbor nor a parent who saw me. It was the police officer who pulled me over to make sure I wasn't drunk. So embarassing. And I made it worse by sobbing through the whole encounter. Ugh! But, your dad was right - these little scares made us drive more safely, I imagine.

  5. This was such a great story. Both from the past and how the mystery was solved.


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