Our “No Place Like Home” columnist, Lorry Myers, was exasperated with her mom when she thought her mother had agreed not to drive anymore. This poignant short tale describes how they both handled it.


Author Lorry Meyers

When I heard the vehicle pull into my drive, I went to the back door and looked out, not expecting anyone, especially not who was there. I recognized the SUV with the piece of trim scraped off the side and a dented fender on the front. I slipped through my garage, walked up to the waiting vehicle, and opened the driver’s door.

“What are you doing?” I asked with more than a little exasperation in my voice. I wanted to fuss even more, but the woman in the driver’s seat was my 90-year-old mother.

Obviously, she doesn’t listen to me anyway. “I know what you are going to say,” said the woman with the unworried look on her face. My mother lives 15 highway miles from me, and despite that one unfortunate “brush” with a light pole during a Missouri snow, she still drives her own vehicle.

The one with the dented fender.

“Mom, we talked about this,” I said with a heavy sigh designed to hide my guilt. I am one of the lucky ones who has lived all the days of my life with my mother close by. Bette Sewell is actively involved in her church, still lives in her own home, pays her own bills, and remembers, without fail, anniversaries and birth dates.

More than I can say about myself.

In the seven years since my father’s passing, my mother became dependent on a cane, and now, a walker. My siblings and I worry about Mom coming and going and getting home safely. Just last week, I finally told her that she shouldn’t be driving those highway miles to my house. Now, one week and 15 miles later, Bette shows up with attitude.

The little rebel.

My mother has always been a model of grace while demanding good grades and good behavior. Bette has lived her life with love and lipstick and a way about her that can only be called regal. My father often remarked about the dark-haired princess he married and the silver-haired queen she became.

Now she is just being stubborn.

I very quickly reminded Mom that I didn’t want her driving on the highway. I worry she will have a flat or try to pass a combine or not see the motorcycle in front of her.

Artwork credit: Merit Myers

That was it, no more driving!

“You are right,” Mom said, her voice full of something I couldn’t quite hear. “I came to tell you this will be my last drive to your house.”

I looked at my beautiful mother and finally saw in her eyes what her words couldn’t say. Each time something happens, each tremor of her hand or give of her hip, a little more of her independence slips away. In the last years, between facemasks, vaccines, and cancellations, my mother has been trying to live the rest of her life. She is 90 years old and as long as I can remember, she has been the one in charge. Now, suddenly, Bette is a teenager again, one with restrictions and curfews, and I am the person enforcing them.

What just happened?

Finally, we hugged and humbly compromised to her driving “local” along with a “before dark” curfew. My mother seemed accepting of her new driving rules and agreed to abide by the curfew in place. I was feeling pretty good about it all until Bette pulled out of my driveway, rolled down the window with a wicked grin that somehow reminded me of my younger self, and said the one thing that haunts me at night.

“You know what they say about paybacks.”