Go-Karts, Toes and the Red Dirt Road

When growing up some kids can not wait to be an adult. Make their own decisions, drive their own car, set their own rules. Be on their own and not have to answer to mom and dad. The rude awakening comes to them when they are faced with their first car note, rent is due, and they still need to buy food to eat. I was one of those kids, probably not the only one either.

Looking back at my children growing up and seeing the sweet innocence of childhood, as a mom I want to hold onto it forever. Remembering the hugs and laughter is pure joy, smiles and tears. You can’t pinpoint the day when (pre-teen or teenager) when all this changes. They don’t need you quite as often as they used to. You are still their number one fan, helping when they need you, continuing to set rules, teaching them valuable life lessons and loving them every minute of the day. You watching from afar, off in the distance still their biggest fan. Are they hearing you? They are plucking your nerves! Why won’t they listen? You did what? Did I raise you this way? I know what’s best for them. It’s not your life mom. This hits you like a ton of bricks – truly gut punch. They have to live their life for them, their decisions, their mistakes, their choices, their love, their fun, their heart ache, their journey, just like I was allowed to.

Reality sets in. I think back and realize how I must have broke my mom’s heart on some of my not so smart choices or behaviors. We can not control our children’s actions, the path they need to take for jobs, schools or choices. God has their journey planned for them, just as He had mine planned. As a mom I can continue to love them unconditionally, pray for them and know I have instilled in them God’s love, plan of salvation, kindness, right from wrong, love and a home they will always be welcomed and come home to. I continue to work on not having a judgmental tone, facial expressions of what the …., because who am I to judge anyone? This is where patience, prayer and having faith come in.

Back to ready to grow up. As a child, do you remember the excitement you felt at Christmas waiting for morning to come for Santa Clause to bring you toys or the vacation trip you would be taking and just could not wait for that day? Planning a week out of what you would pack, what you would ask for and time seemed to drag on and on. This brings up patience. Patience is a word I have been praying about for my entire life. The definition from dictionary.com of patience is

  1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain,  without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay
  3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence

I have prayed and practiced patience daily, I remember someone saying don’t pray for patience, God will give you events in your life to improve your patience. I silently smiled, ok laughed out loud and guess what? I quit praying for patience.

In the Bible, 1 John 4:8 it tells us God is love. So if God is love and love is patience as 1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us then I really should be praying for qualities of love, kindness, as our preacher tells us, “Be like Jesus”. I didn’t stop praying I added to my prayer life to pray for change inside of me, so I would reflect more patience, kindness, love and to be the mom, friend, wife, daughter, aunt, coach, nurse God needed me to be to complete my journey in life.

Moses, Abraham and Sarah, and Joseph are all characters in the Bible that showed great patience and strength. Their strength and patience came from the faith they had in God and the obedience to listen and follow His directions. The book of Exodus tells us of the journey of Moses leading the Israelite people from slavery, from the Egyptians. During this journey they are chased by Pharaoh and God leads them miraculously through the Red Sea. This is where God parted the waters of the Red Sea and they walked through on dry land. This journey with Moses across the wilderness, dessert and sea took forty years. They were to follow the cloud by day and stop when the cloud stopped. God provided a fire by night. He fed them and continued to lead them to the Promise Land. Can you imagine leaving your home and walking for forty years while following Mosses? Eating the same food daily? Dealing with someone chasing you, sickness, and critters. This is when I would think, Oh Lord what are you doing?

Well this happened. The Israelites began to mumble, groan and complain, especially when Moses left to go up on Mount Sinai and seek direction from God. Moses did not return for forty days. Who would have thought- He done up and left us? Well the people built their own tabernacle, the Gold Calf and began to worship this. This did not go over well with God or Moses. Moses continued to fight for the Israelites and follow God’s plan. God blotted some from life who chose not to follow.

Just as the Israelites we sometimes become impatience and try to do things on our own. Fear, anger and faith can not grow together. Joshua 1:5-6.
 No one shall stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous…… When we lose patience with our daily life and start thinking the what if? But this could happen? They won’t like this? Why won’t they listen? This traffic needs to move! Why did you do that? We need to stop, collect our thoughts, beliefs and lean on our faith. Psalms 138:8 The LORD will work out his plans for my life–for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me. The relationship, love and faith I have in Jesus is just as the verse prior to Philippians 1:6 when Paul talks to the Philippians of their faith and support, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Know the faith you have in your heart is stronger than the fear in your head. Today the fear and pain went to my toes all because I was not patient.

The smoke had settled yesterday on the fields and into the tall pine trees. Dad and my uncle had burned off the vegetable gardens. These gardens were not the simple backyard gardens, these gardens were the size of five football fields. Each year the old garden was burned and tilled over to get the land ready for the next growing season. This also gave us our go-kart track. The lime green go-kart, with the double seats was our hot rod of the Red Dirt Roads. We didn’t get to ride on the red dirt road, but I often thought of just racing it once down the steep hill, the fear of not having enough juice to get back up haunted me and kept me from doing this. Sister had company stay over Friday, so Saturday we were going to entertain her friend and take her on the ride of her life.

We, being my sister and brother. I am the oldest. My sister is the middle child and brother is the baby. At this point of our life we were 5, 7, and 9 years old. We moved in with Granny when I was entering the 4th grade. Granny’s house became home to us for 5 years. The red dirt road and surrounding woods was our playground.
Our three-bedroom, white wooden house- with red shutters, sat bout 50 yards off the red dirt road. You could smell the iron ore in the air, from the dust that blew into the unsealed windows. This small house had wooden and laminate floors. The wooden walls had peeling, cloth wall paper and paneling. Our wooden home sat on cinder block sand was surrounded by towering cedar and oak trees, with one beautiful mimosa tree entwined with a wisteria vine. The cedar trees were so large their limbs touched the ground. Their limbs created a canopy of shade and wall of protection from the red dirt road. Grass did not grow under these trees. The magnificent oak trees held a tire swing. This tire swing was held in place by a wire rope at least 20 feet up to the first branch. This was our finish line.

Saturday morning’s sun began to rise over the tall pine trees, with a hazy cloud like ceiling at the tops of the trees. Pancakes were done and Sister and her friend where putting pig tails in each others hair. I was trying to find shoes, since we would be riding the go-kart today. All I could find was my new white Reebok that were going to be for school. It would be ok. I was not going to be walking in the fields, I was going to be flyin’ around our race track, in our go-kart.

Brother was hollering, “Hurry up! Ya’ll aren’t going to no beauty pageant!”

I told Brother, “Let’s go, they can catch up with us when they get their hair finished.”

I so wished my hair was long enough for pig tails. I had decided I would let it grow. Mom let her friend in the city cut our hair, mine always ended up in a page boy hair cut. Mom also told us she had a friend in the Red Dirt Road community that was a hair dresser. Maybe I was old enough now to tell the hair stylist what I wanted.

We headed outside. We could still smell the smokey dirt like an old campfire smell from the gardens. It was a vast land of tilled up rows into black nothingness, with only a few corn stalks sticking up. The green lawn had drawn a line around our yard, as the chard black land took over and went all the way to the tall pine trees at the back of the property.

Brother pulled out the go-kart and started checking for gas. Yes, Dad had showed us all the things to check on our little car. Oh to be able to drive, how fun would that be. Well it may only be a go-kart, but we have been practicing. It’s just like driving a car and at least we get to control the pedals. Dad let’s us sit in his lap in the big blue truck and steer. Brother and I do pretty good. Sister? Well it depended on who you asked. She was still learning. One time during our drives with Dad we were going to the little country store past the “Y” and she followed Dad’s instructions literally. Thank goodness God had the road clear. This store was where we got our dog food and cokes in a bottle from. We would bring in an empty coke bottle and put it in a wire rack. The lady always gave us a nickle for our recycled bottle. We could use our nickle for another coke or candy, with the help of Dad’s money.

Sister was perched in Dad’s lap, she was smiling with her pig tails focusing on steering. She turned left off our red dirt road and proceeded to drive down the left hand side of the road. I’m hollering, Brother’s laughing and Dad was as calm as ever. His response, “She still has it between the ditches , but Sister you need to pull over.”

She pulls over all right! Right over to the left side of the grassy shoulder of the road. He casually and slowly helps her back onto the road. That day we all learned what side of the road to drive on and to keep it between the ditches. So we definitely can drive our go-kart without issues. We have the whole field to practice staying on the right hand side of the make believe road or racetrack.

Bother hopped into the drivers seat and I buckled in on the passenger’s side. Off we went! We tore out down the drive from Granny’s house to our new house being built. Brother headed to the back of the field (garden) to make the long turn and pass to my Aunt’s house. We had made several loops around the fields with our teeth chattering and our heads bobbing from hitting all the rows where the vegetables used to grow. The tilled and burnt ground left ashes flying behind us. We were burning up our track.

Brother came to a stop and we switched spots, so I became the driver. I was a cautious driver, picking and choosing the path of least resistance along all these rows of tilled up blackened earth. We were nearing the finish line at Granny’s house, by the swing we could see Sister and her friend waving their arms in the air like pit crew staff waiting to change our tires. We slid to a stop laughing and still vibrating from all the bouncing. Brother and I got out of the go-kart and Sister shrieks! “Look at your butts, legs and back! Ya’ll are filthy!”

Her friend added in, “Ya’ll look like ya’ll been rolling around in the black dirt.”

Brother and I was covered in black ashes. Oh well, it will wash off. We headed to the garden hose for a drink of water and to wash off our legs. We decided to not get our clothes wet just yet. Brother and I then raced to the tire swing. We both climbed on. I jumped into the middle of the tire, while he scrambled to the top of the tire. We pushed and pulled to get the swing going. We felt like we were swinging up to tree limbs with the birds. With each peak of the upswing this gave us a perfect view of Sister and her friend. We swung and watched our NASCAR go kart tear up the burnt fields, while Sister and her friend bounced and laughed over each row like it was a ramp and they were Evil Knievel. Brother finally asked, “Sister when is it our turn again?”

Good question. They sure had been on the go kart for a long time. So being the oldest I jumped out of the swing and marched down the driveway to intercede them. I was standing tall, hands on my hips just a waiting. Here they come. I raised my arms up to motion for them to stop. Brother had come up behind me and started hollering for them to stop too. I saw them getting closer, surely they can hear me? Sister’s not slowing down though. Oh my goodness! She is coming in too fast. Brother yells, “Move Sister! She’s going to run you down!”

“No she aint’!” was my brilliant response.

It was our turn and I was not going to wait on Sister to decide when she would get off. She wouldn’t dare run us over. In fact, Dad was walking towards us, so he would help. I didn’t move, neither did Sister. She came flying in right by my legs and ran over my toes! I hollered as her and her friend rolled passed us laughing and bouncing. Brother was checking out my new white shoes with the black tire treads over the tops of my shoes. We heard a whistle and we all turned towards Dad. He had his hand up with his index finger shaking it No-No motion.

“Put it up.” was Dad’s calm response.

Sister drove the go-kart to the shed, while me and Brother followed behind her. I could still walk, but was milking it with a limp.

The afternoon was not ruined. We made peace and began to wash off all the blackened ashes from our body. Thank ya Jesus, my white shoes washed off nicely. Then we took the hose to our favorite spot ever. Fun, fun, fun playing in our in the ground swimming pool. (The one we dug out ourselves and lined with garbage bags). We went from covered in black soot to covered in muddy water.

Wise words from Dad, “If ya’ll would take turns and be patient ya’ll could still be riding and your toes wouldn’t be hurting.”

Poor choices and lack of patience can sometimes get you into a pickle. This is when we must be still and wait for God’s direction and His will. It is trying, it’s hard and sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but if we do wait and make the choices that are good for us, the right door will open and your path just might not be so difficult. God is wanting us to trust in Him and lean on Him to seek out for His directions. In the end the reward is so great. Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of a matter is better than the beginning, and a patient spirit is better than a proud one.…

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