When I turned 16, my birthday wish was to take a family vacation to Panama City Beach, and I requested to drive from our hometown of Richland, all the way to the seaside. Although I was a newly licensed driver, I had been practicing my driving skills with Nanny for years and was confident that I was ready to chauffeur our family on an adventuresome trip to the gulf.

Mamma appeared apprehensive; she believed that I needed additional practice before driving for four hours while negotiating unfamiliar highways. Daddy was more relaxed; he considered it an educational opportunity. My parents had recently purchased a baby blue Thunderbird; a two-door model equipped with all the amenities, to include stylish leather bucket seats. The account unfolds as my fantasy is ultimately fulfilled.

During the beginning of the journey I was excited and kept my speed well under the permitted limit, but as I became more confident I slowly increased the speed up to the allowable limit. I was behind the wheel for about an hour when I realized that I was approaching a soaring overhead bridge.



For the complete story, see the Thursday, June 7 edition.

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