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I had a birthday last week. I turned the most arbitrary age in the whole line-up of possible ages: Forty-six. My big birthday request was to “sit on the porch.” I’ve officially begun the transition into becoming my own Memaw. The next step is to report the drama happening at the birdfeeder like it’s an episode of “Guiding Light” and to start frying salmon patties to serve with my butter beans.
While 46 isn’t very noteworthy outside of the fact that I made it this far, my birthdays always feel youthful because I share them with my oldest son. He was born on my 30th birthday. While that was my most physically painful of birthdays (besides, perhaps, my original birthday which I won’t count because I can’t remember it) the upside is that I just choose to take on my son’s age each year as well as my own. This year we turned 16!
This new age combination comes with a sense of freedom! Freedom from repeatedly hearing futile requests for rides to friends’ houses that are three blocks away. Freedom from running to the Pigsaver for a single forgotten item. Freedom from driving my youngest kid and a carload of pals out to Sylva Rena Baptist Church every Wednesday night where they play Baptist basketball and eat Baptist pizza.
The 46-year-old half of us is free from these burdens while the 16-year-old side of us now inherits these new and previously unconsidered privileges!
Most of our town’s 16-year-olds have been driving around Water Valley for a while now, let’s be honest. Not mine, of course, because I’m reportedly “lame.” But a lot of kids learn how to drive here by grabbing the keys at any age over 12, getting in their relative’s car and just…driving off. It’s a sink or swim situation, I guess.
The only thing that I really and truly worry about in terms of our town’s kids driving is the situation with Highway 7. And it’s not the teenagers’ driving practices that I worry about. It’s us. The adults!
On behalf of all the moms of newly driving 16-year-old kids in town, I am making a deeply sincere public plea for everyone to slow the H-E-double-hockey-sticks down on Highway 7 and quit passing people like you’ve got a personal death wish for yourself and everyone who encounters you. It boggles my mind that people will risk their own lives and the lives of everyone in the oncoming car just to get one, single, solitary car length ahead. Why am I saying it only gets you a single car length ahead? Because we ALL eventually catch up with each other at the 7/9 split! And then, after the split, there’s next to no passing opportunities into Oxford so what in the world is the point?
Y’all. We live in Yalobusha County. There is literally zero reason to hurry unless someone is dying, chasing you and/or in active labor. I’ll make sure my teenager doesn’t text and drive if you make sure that you don’t crest a hill at 400 mph in the wrong lane.
Lastly, I’m writing this column the day before the Tourism Tax vote. I’ve got my odds on a PASS. Fingers crossed!