Can You Imagine?

I think it was when I was eight. My family went to see Grandma and Grandpa. We often did that since we’d moved to their town; from southern California back to my parents’ hometown in Kansas. We’d go visit with them for the day and maybe we’d get some ice cream and then go back to the house my mother had grown-up in to watch Hee Haw. Sometimes we went over there early and drove out to the lake for a picnic and Grandpa would “Aw, Hell!” at me for fishing wrong. He’d taught me, so I was reflecting on him. This was one of those days.

Every time we went somewhere Grandpa always drove and always in his car. Those were the rules. It was in the 1980s, so some cars still had bench seats in front. That day Grandpa said, “Well, c’mon, get in. We ain’t got all day.”

I went towards the open back door to sit next to Grandma before my sister got that prized seat and Grandma said, “Go get up front.”The front seat was for Grandpa and Dad.

“Nuh-uh!” I could not believe my luck.

“Yes, Cane. You sit up front with the men now.” That’s the way it was until the bench was too small for all three of us, Grandpa, Dad, and I.

9 thoughts on “Can You Imagine?

  1. I remember pecking order rules like that. My two older brothers were at the top and middle of that food chain.

    Even today there are some things we do instinctively which are nods to it. And we are 46, 53 and 55 respectively.

  2. This story reminded me of some isolated incidents from my younger days which were hints that I was fast approaching my manhood or that I pined for the day when I would be receiving this “privilege”. For the life of me, I can’t remember even the sketchy bits of them now.

    But thanks for sharing. It reminds me of a time in the distant past.

  3. CRP-


    One of many moments like that happened while hunting rabbits with my dad. I used to always carry the .22 and he the 12ga.

    On small moving targets along the sage covered desert floor the shotgun was far more effective. One day after we already harvested a couple white tails my dad decided to stay back and skin them on the tailgate.

    I asked if I could take the shotgun out on my own. His only requirement was that I take a shot or two at some aluminum cans right there to make sure I could handle it and off I went.

    My father was a very subtle and understated man, so there was no big dramatic music moment here. In fact I can’t say for sure he meant for it to be a profound rite of passage for me. But that’s exactly what it felt like.

    Sometimes I miss the .22 now, but there was no turning back at that point.

  4. I think stuff like this matters. My oldest is a boy and my next oldest is a girl. She’s always trying to horn in on the boy stuff. I try to make it a point to treat the boys and girls differently in specific circumstances and it chafes her. For the most part she goes with the flow, but I don’t think she likes it very much.

  5. @squid_hunt

    I don’t know how I missed your comment before. Yes, totally agree: It matters. And girls are always trying to horn in on the boys’ stuff, and they sometimes (but not always) resent it when they are excluded. But there is encouragement given to the boy and contentment taught the girl with these little things.

    My grandma told my miffed sister that we men were chauffeuring the women around. I think that’s fine, too.

  6. Hey Cane. Long time reader first time commenter. I saw this the other day on FB and thought it was very ridiculous. Would love to hear your thoughts on it if you have a moment.

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