I was about three years old the year my mom rolled the car. Even though I was pretty small, I remember it – sort of. It’s not the type of thing you forget, especially since I was in the car. Big old Buick – my dad always drove Buicks – heading down a two-lane blacktop in rural North Dakota with my mom behind the wheel and my sister and me in the back seat.
In North Dakota there really were – still are – pretty steep ditches on both sides of most highways. So, the expression ‘keep it between the ditches’ has real meaning. Somehow mom – thank God, she was never a fast driver – got the Buick a little too close to the edge, and the right front wheel went off the road and the rest of that big, old Detroit beast just followed down the incline in the ditch and slowly rolled over like an oversized mastiff deciding to take a nap. But, as the expression goes, no harm, no foul.
We climbed out of the car and up to the side of the road – my sister tells me she can still see the car at the bottom on the ditch, the wheels spinning. Some farmer came along with his tractor, hooked up the Buick, hauled it out and we got back on the road.
The very next day my mom went and got a driver’s license.