On one of my occasional trips to the Travel Inn in Edmond, Oklahoma in which my grandfather drove despite my multiple offers to chauffeur, we had concluded our business and were ready to head home. As he backed the car out of the parking space—a piece of gravel lot indistinguishable from the rest of the lot—and backed up, I noticed a short pole to the rear.
Realize that when my grandfather put the car in gear he would also accelerate. It did not matter which direction; he gave it some gas. So there I was in the back seat as tires were spinning, gravel making a furious noise, and we were racing backwards when I saw this pole that we were closing in on fast.
I yelled, “Pole!”
Stella, his wife, casually looked back at me and said, “Oh, we’ve hit that before.”
Grandpa put it in drive, gave it some gas, and we spun out on the gravel until we hit asphalt. Apparently, the small poles at the edge of the lot were just magic posts in the pinball parking game of which I had yet to receive my initiation. I should have known that my grandfather would have already tested the boundaries of the parking lot.