Grandpa's Golf Cart
Thanksgiving was always my favourite time of year. It meant that my family would take the long drive north to my dad’s parent’s farm, where we would spend the weekend visiting with relatives and enjoying grandma’s delicious home cooked food. My grandparent’s farm was situated on a gravel road in the midst of rolling fields of wheat and canola that stretched out as far as you could see. Just down the road to the right of them, was my uncle’s farm, and to the left, another uncle. Thanksgiving was just at the time of harvest, so my grandpa and uncles would be out in the fields combining, and the eight of us cousins would be riding on the golf cart.
Grandpa’s golf cart was a major attraction for us kids. There could be nothing better in our minds than all piling on the two-seater cart to race around the farmyard with the crisp fall wind in our hair. Three to four would be squashed in the front seat, another two to three hanging off the back, and the smallest in the wire basket. Then we would take turns driving. First racing along the gravel driveway, then up and down the grassy ditches. Next speeding through the grass to stop and pick the tiny wild pansies around the grain bins. Then bouncing through the hard packed dirt of grandma’s huge garden, and finally navigating through the line of trees to drive across the font lawn and back to the driveway. Sometimes someone would fall off- either by accident or on purpose- and we’d all laugh as he or she raced to catch up and jump on again.
The October I was twelve was not much different from other years. We were all at my grandparent’s house one afternoon, and had gotten tired of playing card games. It was obvious what would come next. “Let’s go on the golf cart!” someone suggested, and five of us raced outside. It was waiting for us right outside the back door where we had left it last, gleaming white and flawless. Everyone piled on, and we were off. Laughing wildly as we sped around and around. Soon I was bored of riding, and begged for a turn to drive. The cart was stopped, seats exchanged, and we were off again, this time with me at the wheel. It was wonderful. I felt so independent and reckless. At top speed we motored across the lawn towards the belt of trees. The ground was downhill, and we were going to fast! “Slow down!” my cousins yelled from the back. “Watch out for that tree!” cried my brother. I tried to steer away, and almost succeeded, but it was too late. We smashed into the side of the tree with a resounding crunch.
We all jumped out of our seats- my brother, three cousins, and I-and surveyed the damage. The whole front was pushed in, and the metal rods that held up the roof were pushed back so that the roof looked strangely lopsided. I felt a sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach. I had wrecked grandpa’s golf cart. What would he think? What would he say? We climbed back in, and slowly drove back to the house. At least it still worked. My stomach was twisting around in knots, and I felt like I was going to throw up. My companions all filed into the house. They didn’t want to have anything to do with the accident; it was all on my shoulders. Hesitantly, I turned the doorknob and went inside. Grandma was right there in the kitchen, so I thought I might as well get it over with. Slowly and nervously, my confession spilled out of my unwilling lips. Grandma looked out the window at the mangled machine, gasped, and called grandpa. I felt hot tears spill over my eyelids. Then Grandpa was there; he said it was all right, that he could try to fix it. He wasn’t mad at me at all. He had forgiven me, but I still felt terrible.
For the next few hours I sat in suspense and misery. Halfheartedly, I joined in on a card game, which did nothing to lift my spirits. Then Grandpa emerged from the shed. I ran outside, and there was the golf cart: good as new. Relief washed over me as grandpa gave me a big hug and told me that he had found just the right part to fix the problem.
I look back at that memory with fondness, even though I’ve never been able to live down the story among my cousins. The experience that sticks out in my mind most clearly is my Grandpa’s arms around me, assuring me that he still loved me whatever happened, and that I was much more important to him than any golf cart. It made me realize how important family is, and how thankful I am to be surrounded with a wonderful family that I love to be with.