This I Believe

Larry - Kingman, Arizona
Entered on August 2, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe it is important to get where you need to go and get back. My dad taught me this. You don’t cruise around town and waste gas and you don’t go someplace if you don’t have a reason. We had just finished supper and it was late. I needed to put gas in my car and pick up an inhaler from the pharmacy for one of my sons. I just wanted to get there and back. My 7 year old son asked if he could ride along. I hesitated. He begged. He is small and his legs are short. I knew I would have to walk more slowly. I knew it would take longer to get back home. I said he could come.

He asked if he could ride in the front seat of my small car. I hesitated. I am a very conservative and careful parent. He didn’t weigh enough to sit up front. What about his safety. What about the air bag. Maybe if we traveled the back roads to get there. I said he could ride in the front seat of the car. When he got in he said that he didn’t know there were some many lights up front. He asked about the numbers on the stereo. He asked about the lights on the arm of the door.

The back seat of the car must be a dark place.

I remember the back seat growing up in a family of seven. My brother and I often had to sit in the pop up seats located in the back of the Country Squire Station Wagon. At least we could see the stars better from back there. But, once I made it to the front seat I never went back.

In his excitement he was sitting up in the seat. “Seth,” I said, “You need to sit back for your safety.” He quickly did just what I asked. As I tried to answer all his questions he said that he felt like a grown up. I told him that sometimes when people do things that they are not ready for it kind of looks like a boy wearing his daddy’s big clothes. He said, “No, sometimes its fun to wear your dad’s clothes because it warm like you’re wearing a blanket”. I smiled and my eyes teared. I said nothing. I didn’t want to forget a single word he had just said. It was if I was holding on to something very valuable and I didn’t want to drop it. I wanted to remember that moment forever. I didn’t say much during the rest of the ride. I just kept saying his words over and over to myself. I don’t remember a lot of what happened after that. We made it home safely. I wrote down his words on a piece of paper. I carried the slip of paper with his words in my pocket for several days. It’s on my bathroom sink right now.

I still believe in getting where I am going but it doesn’t mean I can’t take someone with me and learn something on the way. I am glad he went with me.