My teenage years were not quite the rebellious era one would think.
The biggest thing I did was sass Granny and live to tell about it.
While other kids were sneaking out to go to parties, I thought I was big stuff if I cruised the Piggly Wiggly with my friends.
I lived in righteous fear that I would be caught and have to endure the wrath of Granny and Mama.
Mama would take away anything that mattered to me – namely, my phone.
Granny, on the other hand, was her own brand of punishment and could instill fear in the devil himself.
So, needless to say, I stayed out of trouble.
But there were times I pushed the boundaries.
It wasn’t intentional.
Usually, it started out as something that seemed harmless at the time, then turned into something that would get me in deep, unmeasurable trouble.
If wisdom comes from experience, this may be why I don’t let my own child go anywhere.
While hanging out at a friend’s house one day, her mother said she had a headache and was going to lie down.
We were probably the cause of said headache, or maybe she was doing it so we wouldn’t bug her.
Whatever her reason, she had left two teenage girls to their own devices for the better part of the afternoon.
Even though my friend, Crystal, was a couple of years younger, she was always a bit more eager to do things we shouldn’t.
“We oughta go to the store,” she suggested.
“No, Mama told me not to walk anywhere today.” I lived in a world where if Mama told me not to do something, I didn’t. Even if I was well out of her sight, she would somehow know. And what Mama didn’t know, Granny could darn well find out.
Crystal gave me a sly smile. “We don’t have to walk.”
Sometimes, I was a little slow on the uptake. “How are we going to get there?”
She picked up her mama’s keys. “We can take the car.”
“Your sister isn’t here to drive us.” See – slow on the uptake.
“No, dork,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I will drive.”
I was worried about this for many reasons. I was terrified of driving; even as a teenager, I thought we were too young to be behind the wheel of a vehicle. My next worry was the fact if Mama didn’t want me walking, how would she feel about me riding in a car with a 13-year-old driving? She had a fit once when Granny took me somewhere and didn’t tell her. This would not sit well.
“I don’t think this is a good idea,” I said, not feeling so sure.
“Do you want some candy or not?”
And off in the car we went.
I thought I was going to throw up as she backed the car out of the driveway and into the street.
But as we eased out of the neighborhood, my nervousness and fear broke free.
It was exhilarating.
We both squealed and laughed, screaming “wheee!” as we drove around.
Was this what it was like to be a bad girl?
It made me feel so free and fearless.
Until we came up to a four-way stop.
“Crap,” she muttered. “Is that your Granny?”
I looked in the direction she indicated and sure enough, sitting at the stop sign was Granny in her burgundy Olds.
“Act casual,” Crystal said.
We did, and Granny drove on through without a sideways glance.
“Where is she going?”
I wasn’t sure. Maybe home? Maybe to the grocery store – but which one?
It threw an uncertain monkey wench in our freedom plan.
“Maybe we shouldn’t go to the store?” I suggested. “She will want to speak to your mother if she sees us.”
She would; Granny was big on talking to mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and any one in your family tree if you were friends with me.
“Maybe we need to go the opposite way?” she said.
Crystal may have been the wild one, but she was smart enough to fear Granny.
We went down another road and another, taking great caution in avoiding any possible place Granny may be.
“Oh no!” I cried. “That’s Pop and Bobby’s work truck!”
Sure enough, at a red light, there sat my grandfather and uncle.
How many stop signs and red lights did this town have and did I have family sitting at everyone of them?
We turned down another road. And the next thing I knew, we were pulling onto the highway and heading straight towards my house.
“We will turn around at the cemetery and go back,” Crystal said.
We thought we were in the clear until right as we turned around at the cemetery and pulled into the road, here came a little blue Ford with one little crazy redhead at the wheel.
“I’m going to die. That’s it, I am dead meat!” I said. Part of me was glad. I had been a bad girl for about 20 whole minutes and it was exhausting. I was ready for it to be over.
“Duck down!” Crystal cried. How were we going to drive and be in the floor board?
But Mama was busy lighting her Virginia Slim and didn’t pay us any attention. Crystal hit the gas and we sped all the way back to her house.
Mama arrived a little while later to pick me up, none the wiser.
Or so I thought.
A few months later, I was with another friend, riding around against Mama’s usual wishes. And there at the same dad gummed stop sign sat Mama.
We ducked down as Mama drove by.
She didn’t say a word.
Until one day, when I was heading out to a friend’s again.
“Sudie, don’t you be going anywhere, you hear me? It’s not safe,” Mama began.
“There’s all these people-less cars riding around.”
From the look on her face, I do believe I was busted.
My rebellion, albeit brief, was over.