Napanee Writers’ Forum: Friday Night Ride

Joanne Kane, a resident of Amherstview, is retired from a lifetime of operating businesses. This includes a decade at Queen’s University, managing food services in the residence system. She is the original owner of JJK’s Convenience store in Amherstview. She most enjoys writing short fiction and memoirs. 

                                                       Friday Night Ride

       My aunt had just purchased a new fully loaded 1959 Chevrolet. She had come for dinner and was excited by the chance to flaunt her finery. This car, a work of art, had Dad and John standing spellbound out on the cold, windy, snowy driveway, admiring all its charms.

       After a meatless Friday dinner, the family left to attend church in town. How John and I managed to avoid this remains a family mystery. My 14-year-old brother decided that we should take her luxurious wheels for a spin on Hwy#3 where we lived. I couldn’t say no to this joyride, especially when the keys were in the ignition.

       The blowing snow made the road slick. After a few miles, John headed home due to the weather. As he turned into the driveway, the car slid toward the ditch and got stuck there. He tried everything to get the car out, but it dug in deeper. My eight year old self was pushing. Opening the driver’s door, he pushed while attempting to steer. The car wouldn’t budge.

       We nervously watched the road for signs of them returning, knowing what trouble we’d be in if caught. We needed gravel under the back tires for traction. However, the car was on the roadside, and the gravel pile was at the back of the farmyard. We hustled through the driving snow, grabbing two shovels which we filled with gravel while fervently praying that we wouldn’t get caught. Another run for more gravel and me pushing with all of my strength, the snowy ditch finally released the car. John carefully parked the Chev while I rushed the shovels back to the shed. 

       Hurrying into the house, hanging our wet coats in the stairwell, we watched TV to appear as innocent as possible. Dad’s car pulled into the driveway, stopping momentarily near the ditch. Could he see that a car had been stuck there? He asked why our coats were wet. I lied and said that we had played in the snow with the dog.

       What saved our skins? Mom and Aunt Edna chatted over coffee which allowed her car to cool down. She never knew it had been driven. The snow continued blowing overnight covering all our tracks. Whew!

       Fifty years later we told Mom about our adventure. She shook her head and said, “Oh, anybody’s car but Edna’s!”

-Joanne Kane

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