These happen a lot, don’t they? A person changes their mind, fortunes are won or lost, ships change course mid-stream, a dog running flat-out suddenly veers backward as the scent takes a sharp turn and one country in the entire world, and those it influenced over the centuries places steering wheels in cars opposite what most people consider the norm. Except our postal carriers.

The summer of 1970 my family visited my mother’s aunt in Jamaica for two weeks. They were no longer a British protectorate but their cars were still (maybe are today even) having the steering wheels on the right side, which to us is the wrong side. My dad rented a little Ford Cortina. Driving this car was a remarkable feat and one that gave my brother and me many opportunities of hilarious laughing fits. Dad would be beetling down a hill precariously toward a one-lane bridge, on the right side of the road, which was wrong. Just as swiftly another car crested their hill toward the same bridge. Dad jerked the little car to the left, downshifting or so he thought but he wasn’t because the gear shift and turn indicator were reversed on the steering column, so he was really telling the horrified on-coming driver he was moving back into their lane. My brother and I nearly split our sides cramping with laughter. Mom sat diplomatically quiet in the front passenger seat white knuckling the dashboard. Furious that we thought his taking our lives in his hands so casually was funny Dad flung a powerful arm over the seat at us hoping to connect in a warning blow but invariably missed. This caused more hilarity but fortunately by the time we got to wherever it was that we were going Dad was so relieved that we were all in one piece he forgot how mad he was.

There are some things children never remind their parents of, and we never did.


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