Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
Henrietta Meets a Bobcat
July 7, 2006
You can take the girl out of the car, but you can't take the car out of the girl. I have loved cars for years. The first one was that great Ford Model A convertible with a rumble seat that brightened my senior year in college and our early married years. We actually drove it across the country and back once. There have been several "fun" cars since then along with my motorcycle.
But the years go by and your eyesight starts to fail and our reaction time slows down. A year ago I gave up my Prelude. It was, of course, a very sad farewell, but I knew I had to do it.
I figured I would never get to drive again. But it turns out I wasn't through yet. After all I do still have my driver's license, good until 2008, with a motorcycle validation. (Actually, I don't think I should have it, but that's another story.) So why should it be surprising that at age 92 I was ready to go driving again.
The vehicle was strictly an off-road one. It was a Bobcat. For the few people in the world who do not know what a Bobcat is, the one I drove
is not a four legged feline. It is a four wheeled front end loader somewhat smaller than the behemoths we see around building sites. I watched those massive machines moving dirt around as our Commons addition was started and marveled at the skill and dexterity of the drivers.
When Bert and Merce, two of my friends, actually bought a Bobcat and explained to my ignorant self what it was and what it could do I was fascinated. They own a large piece of property on Glade Park and an acreage in town, and the Bobcat will be used for maintenance and, let's face it, fun.
One morning last week as we were in the coffee shop enjoying our lattes they asked me if I would like to drive the Bobcat. Well, I had to be polite, but do bears like honey? "Gee," I said. "What if I break it?"
They are still laughing at that. I suppose a bomb could scratch it, but I can't imagine anything breaking it.
So a bit later I climbed into the Bobcat. That in itself is an adventure. You have to climb over the bucket and up the vertical stairs and over a vertical plate to get into the cockpit. I was anchored firmly in a leather covered steel arm plus a regular safety belt. Two hand controls send the kitty forward or backward with one hand. With the other hand you go sidewise and lift and drop the bucket. Son John commented that it sounded just like the Model A Ford. Hey, I'm back where I started.
Feeling a little like Sally Ride I drove forward, turned around, went back, turned around and filled the bucket with sand. I went forward again and dumped the sand and backed over it to smooth it. Merce was running along the side shouting instructions -- push left, push right, no, go sidewise. Wow -- I did it!
Age is a matter of years, not necessarily a chain link fence enclosing us. We might as well have fun to the limit of our physical ability. I had more fun that day than I ever imagined I could at my age. As the old saying goes, "It ain't over 'til it's over."