Everyone knew that Grandpa was a bad driver. He had had a lot of accidents over the years, but he had gotten a driver’s license when California gave lifetime licenses. Grandma knew he was a bad driver, but she hated driving, so she took her chances with Grandpa.
I’d been driving almost two years and was with Grandpa and Grandma heading from their home in Berkeley to my family’s home in Monterey. We must have been talking about driving, because I remember him saying, “Katy, never put a car in reverse when you’re going forward.” My immediate impulse was to say, “Grandpa, why would anyone do something so stupid?” but for once I kept my mouth shut.
I never did pursue it, but I am convinced that somewhere in the mists of time, my grandfather gutted the transmission of a car.
I had just finished a kayak trip last summer from Harpers Ferry to Brunswick, Md. While exiting the river, I noticed a couple standing in knee-deep water. I was about to say hello, but before I spoke, the strangest feeling came over me that said to keep quiet. I was glad that I did not speak since I later noticed that the couple was spreading the ashes of a loved one in the river.
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