When we first moved up here we rapidly acquired a truck, a dog, and a trailer. Eventually the trailer got left behind when we moved into the house. I taught myself to drive the truck, and eventually his 1968 Pontiac. The driver's license came much later.
The dog developed an understandable terror (having been nearly struck once) of thunderstorms, and would spend the entire storm trying to dig his way into the fireplace, to a Safe Place. I discovered that the one thing that would calm him was to go for rides during storms. As long as the wheels were turning, he was a happy dog.
One very hot July night I woke to the sound of distant thunder. Oh, oh, I thought, and there, at 2 AM, was Ralph the dog huddled in the fireplace, trying to escape. Without thinking I grabbed the dog, and the car keys, and got him safely in the car. Off we went, on all the back roads, up the Cook Road, down the Berry road, across the Peacham road, for nearly an hour. As long as the car moved, he was cool.
As a kind of shortcut home, I decided to take us down the state highway and then back to the house. Short and dirty. It is now 3 AM. I looked at the gas gauge, and it read Empty. Oh, dear. Then I realized several things simultaneously. I am wearing only a baby doll nightie. I am barefoot. I have no purse, no driver's license. No money. It is 3 AM. And the dog in the car, who is the kind of dog who guards his home away from home by snarling and snapping at anyone who so much as touches the fender And my husband, who in those days slept like a drugged monkey, had no idea I was gone.
It was a solid 8 mile drive, uphill, most of the way. I kept having visions of that nice state trooper asking me to please step out of the car and Ralph snapping and snarling...and I still go cold over that one...we made it home, the gas gauge on just as empty as it gets, we got back in the house, and I slid into bed. The next morning I told him what had happened. Bless him, all he said was, you were wearing WHAT?