vintage truck
dad’s knees
by j.lewis

were knobby and wobbly, but then
what did that matter when
there i sat, small hands on the wheel
of an old ford truck
my only job to hold on, hold on
as dad played the gas and clutch
slid the gears up and down
me giggling and bouncing
on the hobby horse of his lap
as we barreled down dirt roads
at five or ten miles an hour

in child-speed, that was a hundred or more
and there was nothing too big to conquer
i was a man driving a truck
and with every bump in the road
came dad’s reassuring voice
that would fuel me for a lifetime

PHOTO: “Man and boy driving,” vintage photo available at ebay.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Learning to drive a stick shift was a rite of passage, and expected in rural New Mexico. My brothers and I took turns learning to drive as soon as we were tall enough to see over the steering wheel of dad’s Ford pickup, sitting on his lap, bouncing down dirt roads. Thanks to his strong grip on the wheel, we somehow never crashed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, and nurse practitioner. He has had a valid driver’s license for over 50 years. When he is not in his Mini Cooper, he is often on a kayak, exploring and photographing the waterways near his home in California.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Qualified to drive anything with four wheels. Taken at the California Automobile Museum, Sacramento, California. Credit: Karlyn H. Lewis 2/18/2016.Used by permission.