April 5, 2014 – As they do every Saturday, Mom and the family took off in the van today. This left me in a pickle. I’m feeling confident about my driver’s test next week, but Sawyer could use more practice. It can’t be that I pass and she fails, so I had to figure out a way to get in some road time with her at the helm. Then I had a spectacular idea! The family has a second car. It has a soft top, which doesn’t seem safe to me, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I went into the house through the garage and took the keys off the rack. A minute later and I was taking a deep breath, opening the driver’s side door for Sawyer.
“Do you think this is wise,” she asked nervously. “What if something lands on us like a tree branch or an asteroid. It could rip right through the roof!”
It was noticeably windy, but I lied. “I don’t think a branch will fall on us,” I replied calmly, “and you’ll only get an asteroid from sitting on cement too long.” I knew it was a fib, but she was so distracted by her reflection in the window, that she didn’t even hear me.
“Here,” I said plopping a colander helmet over her bright red comb. “This way you‘ll be safe no matter what falls from the sky.” I didn’t understand the reasoning behind a cloth roof either, so I strapped a helmet on own head before climbing into the passenger seat.
“We’ll just head into town, do a few practice maneuvers in the school parking lot, take a spin around Moonlight Lake and head back home. We’ll be gone 45 minutes, tops.”
Sawyer consented and settled into her navigation point behind the steering wheel. The smaller car seemed a better fit for us than the van, but it was still going to take the two of us to work the controls. I made a quick adjustment to my helmet before scooting under the dash. I gave Sawyer a go ahead nod. “Ready when you are!”
Sawyer is an excellent driver on the straightaways. She uses all of the mirrors and calls out directions to me like a head chef across a busy kitchen station. After a while though, I got bored waiting to hear her announce when to step on the brakes or tap the gas pedal. She was having a grand time, but I was getting fidgety. It was then that I noticed an intriguing button the dashboard. Hmmm… I mused. I wonder what this is for?
You know how now and then something scares you so much that you scream and wet your tail feathers at the same time? That’s what happened to Sawyer after I flipped the black switch next to the radio. Who knew the roof of the car was retractable? It was brilliant!! I clapped my wings in delight, momentarily leaning on the gas, and in doing so, prompting the car to explode into the wind. My wattle slapped up and down all over my face and I loved every second! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a car with a moving roof! In seconds, the fabric top folded into a previously hidden pocket behind the back seat leaving Sawyer and me exposed to the rush of nature. Oh, the thrill of it all! I was in heaven!!
The same could not be said of my best friend. As the roof pulled back, she let out a screech that reminded me of a ghastly fisher cat! Blood curdling, it was! In her panic, she overcompensated the steering and we jerked sharply to the left and then the right, until the car burst onto the field behind the community center where we spun around in a smoking donut until my eyes rolled into the back of my head. The force threw me into the brakes and the car came to a surging stop. I slammed the transmission into park but the momentum had already ejected Sawyer from the driver’s seat. I pulled myself up by the windshield in time to watch my dearest pal being hurled through space like a meatball. She landed in the bandstand, feet first. It was incredible!!! I ran to greet her. In my head I thought – Well, this is it… banished to the chicken yard forever. But Sawyer wasn’t hurt at all! She was laughing uproariously!
“Are you okay,” I shouted over my pounding heart.
“I’m fine,” she roared. “I wet myself, but I am alive!” Then she hugged me so tightly that I couldn’t feel my wings, and hooted all the way back to the car.
“Sorry about the roof,” I said sheepishly.
“We really need to read the owner’s manual before we try that again,” she nodded.
Try it again? Yup! In spite of the scare, Sawyer is still determined to get her license with me. We took a few minutes to collect ourselves before heading home. The car was fine – not a scratch on her. I pushed the black button that started the calamity and the roof obligingly returned to its original position. We made it home without mishap.
Later, when we were safe and sound in our henhouse, I whipped us up a batch of Piña Coladas. We fell into our easy chair and turned on the ballgame. Wilma scrambled up next to us.
“What did you two do today,” she drawled.
“We went out for a bit of fresh air,” Sawyer chuckled. “Nothing earth shattering.”
Nothing shattering indeed, I nodded… thanks once again to our colander helmets.