Yesterday was Alex’s Sweet Sixteen.  He had a slumber party with all of his buddies last weekend, since his birthday landed in the middle of the week, and then we had a private family get-together last night to celebrate.  It took him forever to decide what he would like us to cook for him, but he finally decided on fried chicken (by Nana), homemade biscuits (by me,) mashed potatoes (by Faith), cream gravy (by Gaylon), and a Kentucky Butter Cake (by Lishi).  It was truly a group effort!  Kendall got out of helping because he didn’t get home from work until it was time to eat.

However, the food wasn’t really the best part.  The best part was waiting to see how long it would take him to notice that there was a new car parked in our driveway!  We all kept going out on the front porch, waiting to see if he’d come out to say hello and notice the car. . .but no.  He was busy on his computer, and completely oblivious to the world around him.  It was great!  After the car had sat there for several hours, he finally came out on the porch to ask me “When is Michael going to get here??!?”  Then he glanced at the car in the driveway.  Then he looked at me, and I said “I don’t know.”  He looked at the car again, then at me again.  “That’s not Michael’s car”, I stated.  He looked at the car yet again.  “Is it mine?” he asked, and I could see the light slowly start to dawn.  I handed him the key. 😀

We all laughed.  Hard.  He didn’t care, just grabbed the key from me and ran out to claim his prize.  It is a black 2002 Honda Civic.  He loves it, but there is only one problem: Alex can’t drive a stick shift!  So the really fun part started this morning.

Alex and his New Car

Alex and his New Car

I should have known he was up to something when he actually got out of bed early.  He came downstairs and ate, then headed outside.  Faith and I were doing school at the kitchen table. The dogs started barking like crazy, and Mom came in and said “What is that noise?”  Faith replied that she thought it was Alex.  And then it dawned on me:  he was in the driveway, practicing going forward and backward in his new car.  That terrible sound that had the dogs all in a frenzy was him popping the clutch and spraying gravel as he tried to figure out how to get his car into gear gracefully! He figured out almost immediately that it makes it go a lot more smoothly if you release the emergency brake first.

So, I ran outside to watch the show.  Yeah, I’m twisted, but hey!  That’s why we have kids, right?  For the entertainment value.  It’s just as fun and exciting to watch them try to figure out how to drive a stick as it is to watch them try to walk!  After about an hour, he took a break to work on his French homework, and I talked to him a bit and explained that sometimes you don’t have to press the clutch all the way down to the floorboard.  That was new and helpful information, and after he figured that out, he started having much more success with things.  By supper tonight he was very smoothly driving backward and forward up and down our driveway.

Now, you may be wondering why he is limiting himself to the driveway.  There are two reasons.  First, we don’t have a license plate on the car yet, and second, until he gets his license and insurance in about two weeks, he won’t be able to drive it at all.  But he hasn’t let that stop him.  He just has to go back and smooth out the deep ruts he created before he figured out how not to pop the clutch!

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