Adventures with dad

A weekly family column for the South Cariboo area.

I’m writing this on Father’s Day and as I was driving into work today, thinking what I should write about I realized it was pretty obvious that I should write about something I learned from my dad.

Growing up, we drove what I think was a station waggon Volvo Amazon that, even back then, had been around for several decades.

In the Netherlands, you have to pay road tax every year based on the weight of your vehicle, but that didn’t apply to cars older than 25 years. Consequently, they changed the fuel to LPG autogas, which makes your car heavier (and normally means more road tax), but is much cheaper to buy. Secondly, with four children but only one rear bench it didn’t have enough seats. So, they installed a rear facing second bench in the trunk perfect for little monkeys to make inappropriate obscene gestures from to the car behind us.

It wasn’t a perfect car (I think there were puddles in it once on an exceptionally rainy camping trip in Belgium). Yet for some reason, when it was our turn to drive to an away game for soccer, our car would never be last pick. This was possibly in part because my dad would try (and often succeed) to shake the other parent drivers who didn’t always know where the away fields were (at least I think it was intentional). Anyways, I’m getting off topic.

In the last week before immigrating, it was starting to give up the ghost (possibly to match it’s white exterior). However, there were still places to go. I would usually bike to school but on one day in that last week, I got to go with the car. One of the primary problems was that it wouldn’t go in first anymore (or second if I remember correctly). This meant that in order to start it (in third), my dad would push it, while my mom drove.

My mom, however, had to go out first, resulting in a 007 style type switch of driver and passenger. Subsequently, my mom would jump out of the car while driving on a roundabout, to keep it from stalling. Finally, my dad would have to drive it into a parking spot at his work in one go without going all that slowly.

I’m not sure how they managed to keep that up for a whole week without ever running into a red light or stop sign. The final trick was having actually sold the car and driving it up on a flat without crashing it into the car in front of it (given that it had to be driven up in third).

Now you may be asking yourself what I could have possibly learned from this; well you don’t have to be rich to take advantage of the tax system.

100 Mile House Free Press