by | May 1, 2010 | Every Day Life

For those of you who follow my column let me begin with a Facebook update: I am still not allowed to be “friends” with any of my boys. The quest continues.
On to the subject that has been near and dear to the heart of the Bentleys lately — cars. More specifically — the mishaps with cars. Being the mother of three boys you have no idea how much I really want to blame it all on their father, but I must confess that every defect in this area can be traced to their mother.
Every sheepishly expressed: “I didn’t know;” every defensively protested, “It really wasn’t my fault…” Every remorsefully explained: “I didn’t mean to” is a line taken from their mother’s playbook.

I, in turn, will blame this all on my grandfather, Joe Wheeler, better known as Ugly Joe of Wheeler’s Furniture and Hardware, Leachville, Arkansas. Back in the day – Papaw is 94-years-old – my grandfather was known for driving very fast. I know I am not the only grandchild to have inherited this gene, but I may be the only one who has perfected it. Age and the fear of losing my “cho cho” money are beginning to slow me down a tad.
Yes, I will stop and explain “cho cho.” Apparently this was some kind of ice cream treat at one time and Papaw would refer to speeding tickets as “losing his cho cho money.” Now if memory serves me correctly, I can only recall one time that my Papaw actually lost his “cho cho” money. All the other times, his being Mayor of Leachville, Constable of Leachville, Mississippi County Corium Court Member, Mississippi County Treasurer, and Honorary Arkansas State Trooper, have allowed him to keep his money.
Unfortunately his granddaughter and great grandsons are not very well connected so we keep losing our “cho cho” money. I like to look at it this way – we are doing our part to fund local municipalities and our state budget. It helps to put a positive spin on these things.

In the past week, the Bentleys have contributed $257 to various causes around the state. Yes, I was one of the offenders, to the tune of $120. My “failure to yield” resulted in my front bumper hitting the corner of a car. Our youngest made a $137 payment for following to close on the interstate. Hey, he wasn’t speeding, so that is good news. Well, good news to everyone but my husband.
You see, Donald has not had one speeding ticket in the 26 years I have known him – at least that is what he tells me. But I have a vague memory of him getting one back when our kids were very young. I just can’t remember for sure, so if any of my friends remember would you please tell me. It would be helpful information to have the next time one of us ‘delinquents’ is forced to endure the, “I have never……” lecture. We have heard it quite a few times over the years so even I roll my eyes at this point.
Now understand the man has suffered greatly at the hands of his inept drivers. The following is just a sampling of our many indiscretions.
Mom: Donald and I were engaged when I ran into the back of a car while I was painting my fingernails. I know, I know, really stupid. Our first child had just been born when I took the side mirror off a truck with my car.
The really good one is when we were driving to Florida to see relatives and he told me I should slow down and I told him not to worry about it. I am not exaggerating when I tell you not one minute later I was being pulled over! That is one of his favorite stories.
Oldest son: Was issued a citation for reckless driving on the interstate (driving more than 15 miles over the speed limit). Did you know that carries an automatic three days in jail penalty? Apparently the judge usually waves this, but if he doesn’t, you go to jail! It is also a fine of over $400. Ouch.
Middle son: Speeding ticket in the city of Russellville and speeding ticket from the small town of Pryor, Okla.
Youngest son: Speeding ticket, city of Russellville. He was cited for running a stop sign coming out of Picwood parking lot. Really? Yes, really.

My husband’s biggest problem is that our boys seem bent on destroying their cars. One has driven his through heavy brush, scratching it to ‘smithereens.’ Then later, he used the same car to push shopping carts around the Wal-Mart parking lot resulting in a broken headlight.
Another child decided to do a “James Bond” and slide across the hood of his car leaving a huge and very long scratch from a grommet on the backside of his jeans. He then precedes, at a later date, to back into a mailbox set on a steel pole, set in concrete. To say the rear end of his car lost that battle would be an understatement.
And not be left out, yet another child drove down a dirt road, (after being told not to by his father) hit a rock, split open his transmission fluid pan and continued to drive until he had burned up the transmission.
I am sure many of you sympathize with my husband’s need to break out the, “I never lecture…” but I am just not in the mood. It was an accident! So, if anybody has any memory of that speeding ticket I think Donald might have received, please help me, otherwise, I will have to hear the whole lecture one more time!  


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