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Cheryl Hughes: Stay In Your Own Lane

One day, as I passed a car on Campbell Lane in Bowling Green, I noticed two stickers the driver had placed there.  One, attached to the bumper, read, Left Passing  Right Driving.  The second was placed on the driver’s side window, it stated in bold letters LEFT LANE IS FOR PASSING RIGHT LANE IS FOR DRIVING.  Obviously, the driver had had his fill of people blocking the passing lane.

Occasionally, when I’m being a bit bossy with Sabria over a homework assignment, she will turn to me and say, “Stay in your own lane, Gee.”  It is a reminder that she’s got this, and I need to stop butting in.  

Early in my marriage, I had trouble staying in my own lane.  I think it was because I had trust issues, and it was hard for me to believe someone was actually willing to do something for me, simply because they cared about me.  Garey and I can do a great deal for ourselves, but things go more smoothly if I do what I’m good at and he does what he’s good at.  That’s not to say that we don’t help one another or pick up the slack if one of us has to pull off into the emergency lane.

Thankfully, by the time Sabria came along, we each knew which lane was ours.  Garey would go out on the farm tractor with Sabria in his lap, her little hands on the steering wheel, slapping his hands away as he attempted to get the tractor back onto the right path again.  She rode with him on the backhoe, planted corn and sweet potatoes by his side, and learned the correct way to hoe tomatoes.  Garey showed her how to check the curl on a watermelon and thump it for ripeness.  They still make homemade ice cream together, tying bandanas around their heads, then bowing and referring to each other as Ice Cream Ninjas.  It was Garey who built her treehouse, and Garey who helped her make a birdhouse, which she chose to paint pink with red heart accents.  He never said a word about her choice of colors, although he believes to this day that the birds never used it because of their aversion to the color combination of pink and red.

Sabria learned early on if she wanted to do something that involved a mess, she had best not go to her Papa with her plans.  Messes only happen in my lane.  We’ve made so much slime, I know the recipes by heart, with or without borax, shaving cream, contact lens solution, baking soda, and food coloring.  I know how to make it extra slimy, extra fluffy and extra sticky.  I can even make rainbow colored slime.  

Last week, we made blue pancakes.  Most of what Sabria and I engage in is outside the box, unless it’s building a fort in the living room which involves several boxes.  Sometimes, it’s too much for Garey to bear to watch, and he has to leave the room.  That’s okay.  Sabria knows her grandfather’s area doesn’t involve slime, blue pancakes or box forts.  When she wants to take the golf cart out for a spin, however, she knows who to ask, and I’ve never heard him say “no” to that particular request.

Pre-pandemic, Garey and Sabria would have a McDonald’s breakfast together every couple of weekends.  After the pandemic closed indoor dining at the restaurant, Garey would take Sabria’s order, drive through then bring the food back so they could eat it together.  The last time Sabria gave him her order, she included iced coffee.  Garey came into the kitchen with a puzzled look on his face.  “She said she wants iced coffee.  Is that right?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, “She got caramel iced coffee the last time you got carry-out for the two of you.  Don’t you remember?”

“No,” he answered, “I don’t remember.”

“Well, I remember,” I said.

“It doesn’t matter if you remember,” Garey said.  “I’m the order-er, and it only matters what the order-er remembers.”

With that rebuke, he turned on his heel, got in his truck and headed to McDonald’s.  I believe he was advising me to stay in my own lane, especially when it concerns him and his granddaughter and McDonald’s.


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