The Wild Birthday Ride

grand torinoI am all about modern safety features in the car … I always wear my seat belt, I think airbags are a brilliant invention, and I don’t speed excessively … but one of my fondest memories involves none of the above in a moving vehicle.

Twice a year (for my birthday and for my brother’s birthday), my parents would put all the seats down in the back of our Grand Torino station wagon – creating a flat, slippery surface in place of seats. All the birthday kids would pile in the back – an unlimited number because, obviously, there were no seats.

My dad would speed through our narrow, hilly neighborhood streets. He would evoke screams of laughter as he would slam on the breaks or take a turn too quickly. We would literally tumble over each other in the back – bodies flying forward or towards the side of the car. We thought this was hysterical. My mother would put a nervous hand on my dad’s shoulder, but they both knew that this was part of the birthday ritual. We loved it.

We now know more about car safety and this birthday ritual would never happen. When my kids had birthday parties, we had to coordinate car seats, booster seats, enough seats. I have passed down many of my family’s traditions, but (sadly?) the wild birthday ride has been retired!

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4 Responses to The Wild Birthday Ride

  1. Your Dad sounds like a lot of fun. Great memory.

  2. Amy Whelan says:

    Ahhhhh! I remember doing that on a logging road with my family back in the 70s. The roads were winding, and there was no guard rail. And we kids didn’t have seat belts either! I’m sure my mom was about ready to explode! Thanks for the lovely reminder!

  3. Lynn says:

    Isn’t it something how times change! What is more funny is that while we would never think to do this today… Nothing happened to you kids when your dad created this memory!

  4. Adrienne says:

    There a lot of things I remember fondly, but would never imagine doing with kids these days. Thanks for sharing this. I laughed and was horrified at the same time.

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