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  In the Ndn Way, we adopt a lot of people, & the terms 'uncle' & 'auntie' are both relational & honorary, without further definition.  My Uncle Sam was my uncle; blood ties or lack were irrelevant - and still are today.  I say this so you don't ask me if he was my 'real' uncle or not.  If I call him 'uncle', that's enough.

  My Uncle Sam owned a load brokerage.  That's a place where semis come & drop loads of one commodity & (with luck) get another so they don't have to run back empty (called "dead-heading").  Given the cost of running a semi, dead-heading is not at all popular.

  The brokerage yard is a very busy place & they always need someone to spot the trucks (help the drivers back their rigs into spaces).  Uncle Sam wanted me, but I was too short for the drivers to see me easily - so Uncle Sam & the drivers decided I should learn to drive!  Then the drivers could spot & I could put the rigs in the parking spaces.  A fine idea - except that I was 13.

  But hey - I wasn't driving on the streets (often; & then only so I could bring the rig in with better orientation, or maybe I circled the block in a holding pattern until the traffic decreased in the yard so the novice driver could position the rig..)  And Uncle Sam being Uncle Sam, & a most persuasive fella, the police never noticed who was driving the rig(s) around the block.  Not once.

  This system worked fine - my grandmother Pearl knew about it & she approved..  Her many friends knew about it, & they approved.  My many aunties & uncles knew about it & they approved.  "It's a good thing for kids to know how to work.  To have many skills!  So they'll never be broke & they'll never be homeless!"  Only the parenti were out of the loop.  Kept in the dark.  Don't you love small-town life?  Duwahleh!

  But then I turned 15, & could get that prized thing, A Driver's Permit.  This may still exist, I don't know.  But back then, when you turned 15, you could get a Driver's Permit, also called a Learner's Permit, so you could learn to drive.  Driver's Ed classes existed, but many people taught their kids to drive just fine.  I not only got a Driver's Permit, I had to tell a Lie of Omission.  I could not tell my parents that I already knew how to drive.  Semis.

  I remember that the first time I got behind the wheel, I was a little uncomfortable - & my foster father said, "It's OK to be nervous when you start.  It'll pass."  That wasn't why I was nervous, takoszja - I was nervous because the full-sized sedan (a 1949 Chevy 4-door) seemed so small!  I kept thinking, "Where the heck's the rest of it?!?"

  The foster father thought I was a genius as a driver when I learned to parallel park so quickly.  I didn't educated him as to 'why' that was.  And I could do it on either side!  (Well, hey - you have to be both-sided to drive a semi successfully...)

  Today, I have over 1,600,000 miles, with only 1 crash - at 1,400,000 or so miles.  When 2 stupid white girls in Bismarck ND ran a red light - which people do routinely here; & the transportation people adjust the delay on the red & green lights to account for it....  I was in a hurry to get to the hospital because one of my sons had attempted suicide (I was told; he thought what he did was a joke).  I had a fully green light, but the (white) cop said, "There are 2 of them & 1 of you, so I'm going to charge you with failing to have proper care, OK?" I replied, "No; and they're white & I'm Ndn & that the real reason, right?"  He nodded yes, caught himself, & tried to deny it.  I said, "I used to teach - the first answer is the right one."  (The judge actually said he was upholding the ticket because I'm Ndn.  Typical of ND.. Land of Backward & Denial)

  Regardless - I have always been grateful to my Elders & my Uncle Sam for teaching me to drive the way they did.  Had the parenti known of it, they would have had conniption fits.  Hahahaha....

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