The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 17, 2012

Mike Pound: Taking teens for test drive no easy trip

JOPLIN, Mo. — I took our 14-year-old daughter for a test drive the other day.

It wasn’t a test drive in the sense that we tested a new car. It was a test drive in the sense that it was a test to see if Emma will be able to drive a car at all.

Emma will soon turn 15, which means she will be eligible to obtain a learner’s permit. For years I’ve been dreading this whole learning-to-drive thing, but after spending most of my free time driving Emma around the Four-State Area, I changed my mind. Now I can’t wait until Emma learns to drive.

A few weeks ago, my wife brought home a book for Emma to study so she will be able to pass the test to get her permit. So far, I don’t think Emma has opened the book. Emma is a bit nervous about driving despite the fact that several of her friends already drive. Katie, Emma’s friend from across the street, is a year older than Emma and has been driving for a few months now. She is a big help to my wife and me. Now, rather than having to get out and drive Emma to school, all I have to do is wave to Emma as she gets into Katie’s car. Katie also drives Emma to dance team practice in the afternoon and dance classes in the evening. Katie is a regular Morgan Freeman to Emma’s Miss Daisy.

But Emma can’t rely on Katie to drive her around for the rest of her life. At least that’s what Lana, Katie’s mom, said when I asked. Emma is going to have to learn to drive.

So on a recent Saturday afternoon, when Emma and I were on our way home from a trip to Joplin, I stopped in a large and empty parking lot. Emphasis on the words “large” and “empty.” Mr. Magoo would have been able to drive in this parking lot.

Emma asked why I pulled in.

“So you can try driving,” I said.

“I’m walking home now,” Emma said.

Eventually, I convinced Emma that the parking lot was a perfect place to practice driving, and we both got out and exchanged seats. When Emma got into the driver’s seat I told her to put her seat belt on and then I told her to adjust the seat so she was comfortable.

“How do I do that?” Emma asked.

“There is a button on the side,” I said.

Emma turned on the windshield wipers.

“Not that side,” I said.

Finally, Emma found the right button and moved the seat forward. Then I told her to start the engine. Emma turned the windshield wipers on.

“Turn the key,” I said.

Emma turned the engine on, and I told her to put her foot on the brake and to then put the car into drive.

Emma turned the windshield wipers on.

“Use the gear shift,” I said.

Emma put the car into drive. The car didn’t move.

“Not so slowly,” I said.

The car raced forward.

“Not so fast!” I said.

Eventually Emma found a safe, comfortable speed and she started driving through the parking lot.

“This is fun,” Emma said.

“Turn right,” I said.

Emma turned right. After a while, Emma got the hang of things and did a fine job of driving around the parking lot. She turned left, she turned right and she practiced parking.

When I finally had her stop the car and put it in park, it was beginning to rain. I asked Emma to turn the windshield wipers on.

Emma moved the seat.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

Text Only
Local News
  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: It’s not Mayberry, but Carthage is close

    When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Mayberry. In a way, I suppose I still want to live in Mayberry, the fictional town featured in the classic Andy Griffith show of the 1960s.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin couple indicted in child porn case

    A federal grand jury indicted a Joplin couple Wednesday for alleged sexual exploitation of a second child in addition to a girl who was the subject of a preceding indictment of the husband for allegedly producing and distributing child pornography.

    July 23, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Missouri attorney general defends his support of Amendment 1

    With a large cornfield behind him and campaign signs all around, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster appeared Wednesday at the David Collard farm to tout Amendment 1, an Aug. 5 ballot measure that would make the “right to farm” part of the state constitution.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


Have you ever served as a volunteer for your state's conservation department?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter