Newlywed Love (#88)

August 12, 1970


Behind the wheel of our brand new Fiat, I set out for Champaign by 8:00 PM and couldn’t wait for Nate’s expression when he saw me driving something other than the Mustang. So I called him before I left, to be sure he would wait up for me. “I should be home around 11:00,” I said, not saying a word about our phenomenal gift.

With the convertible top down on this warm summer evening, I set the radio to my favorite music station and looked forward to 3 hours of get-acquainted time with the car.

Car radio.

Heading toward route 57, I remembered something Dad had said years earlier. “A new car shouldn’t do any high speed driving till after the first 100 miles.” I wondered if that was still true with the modern cars of 1970. Just in case, though, I decided to follow that advice.

Driving at about 40 miles per hour, I watched one car after another go around me and hoped I wouldn’t be rear-ended by someone not paying attention.

Police light.The miles clocked by without incident, though, until I saw a flashing light in the rear view mirror. Hoping it would roar past in pursuit of someone else, I was disappointed when the light stayed on and slowed to 40 mph – staying right behind me.

Pulling off to the shoulder, I couldn’t imagine what I’d done wrong. Surely he couldn’t pinch me for going too slow. Route 57 wasn’t even a super-highway, so people didn’t have to go fast.

Normally I would have gotten out of the car to greet the policeman when he came toward me, but I’d been driving without shoes and had a vague memory that barefoot was illegal.

The officer’s first words were, “Where are you going in such a hurry?”

I assumed he was joking but didn’t want to chance it, so gave him a serious answer. “I’m driving home… to Champaign.”

“At a snail’s pace?”

“Well… this car is brand new, and I don’t want to hurt it. I think I’m supposed to drive slow for the first 100 miles.”

“Is that so?” he said, taking a flashlight from his belt. He leaned toward my dashboard to check the odometer – 73 miles.

Bare feet“I’m almost to 100,” I said, hoping he’d commend me for being so careful. But as he pulled his flashlight back, its beam crossed over my toes.

“What’s this?” he said. “No shoes?”

“I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” (Psalm 56:4)

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