|Between the turnoff to Rock Point and the turnoff to Rough Rock.|
I converted to Judaism in October of 1969 and, though, only sporadically observant, the teachings are meaningful and valuable to me. However, on those days when I want to feel close to my Turley roots, I find that if I turn the radio up full blast and play Tom T. Hall's 'Me and Jesus Got a Good Thing Going', I can, seriously, feel my Grandmother Baker's spirit sitting beside me in the car with her hand on my shoulder. When I really want to enhance the 'Turley experience', it helps to turn off the air conditioner, roll the windows down and do a slow bake.
Daddy wanted Grandmother on the road as little as possible, and once I got my license he would send me to drive her anywhere she wanted to go. Grandmother and her sister, my Aunt Georgia, both lived fairly long lives. Which is, when you think about it, a minor miracle because they were both ridiculous drivers. Grandmother would let my brother, Johnny, and my cousin, Greg, sit in her lap and steer that old Plymouth Hydramatic up the back roads of Turley--Quincy to Sixty Sixth Street North , all the way to her house. If they begged, she'd go the long way around, up Sixty-third over to Trenton She was so short she could barely see around them. Thank God, they never wrecked.
I still remember the time Aunt Georgia hit our yard gate with her 1950 Dodge, or was it a Plymouth, too? Can't remember, I was standing on the porch and saw her back into that gate in such a way that the entire thing flew up and froze in midair. It remained attached to the fence at forty-five degree angle. And did not come down. Right hand up to God , my Aunt Georgia looked at that gate, locked in that position and asked me, WITH A STRAIGHT FACE, if I thought Daddy would notice. I didn't laugh out loud. I knew my dad was going to be aggravated when he got a look at that whopper jawed gate. However, if I had laughed at my aunt, and he had found out about it, the word 'aggravated' would not be the word I'd have picked to describe his attitude towards me. He could gripe about them , but no child of Russell and Alene Baker would dare to voice any such thing. There would have been nothing left of me except for the greasy spot where I had been standing.
He didn't have that much regard for my driving ability either. Not that he didn't have his reasons. Once, I had driven home from Oklahoma City for the weekend, and he decided he wanted to keep my fifty-five Ford Fairlane with him to do some work on it. For my return trip, he let me take a station wagon that he used for a fishing car. About the second day I had it, it stopped running. I called home and told Mother the car was broken. As it happened, Daddy had a friend who was going to Oklahoma City on a business trip so Daddy asked him to stop by and take a look at the station wagon. Dan Scott , the friend, came by OCU just as requested. He left me a note taped on my dorm door. 'Sally! It'll run better if you put gas in it!'
I can remember more times that my driving antics put gray hairs on my Dad's head, but that's another post.