Growing up

how my 17′ 8” buick lesabre became “the digger”


I’d only been 16 a couple of months when I loaded up my trunk with water balloons and my back seat with fellow high school juniors to go attack the freshmen’s homecoming float worksite. We sped along Johnny Cash Parkway towards Gallatin, when a voice from the back told me I’d just missed my turn. Without warning any of my passengers, I negotiated a U-turn at about 50mph across four lanes. Smoke billowed from my tires. Screeched tires disturbed local wildlife. My friends screamed obscenities, but they were approving obscenities (e.g., “hell yeah, dude!” and the like).

Then I saw flashing lights.

There was no shoulder, so I kept driving slowly down the dark, one-lane road, looking for a place to pull over while the patrol car followed. I performed this brilliant maneuver for about 1/8 mile.

The cop started yelling through the megaphone attached to the side of his car that I should “PULL OVER NOW!”

I put my hands up in a “what am I supposed to do?” gesture.

Cop: “Stop your vehicle!”

I pulled to the side of the paved surface, right into a ditch. My passengers were slammed against the right side of my car, as my view of the horizon suddenly tilted 45 degrees. The cop hit his brakes, got out of the patrol car, and nervously approached my vehicle, just as I decided I’d better get out of the ditch. I tapped the gas pedal, throwing mud and dirt all over the approaching cop, who was now audibly cussing me and flailing his arms to shield his face from dead leaves.


I stopped, undid my seatbelt, got out of the car, and approached him as I apologized for my erratic behavior. My friends were bent over laughing in the back seat.

Cop: “Please get back in your car.”
What I heard: “Please get into my car.”

I continued walking towards the officer.

Cop: “GET BACK IN YOUR CAR RIGHT NOW!”  His right hand moved towards his holster.

I did an about-face and sprinted back into the driver’s seat. My buddies told me I was going to jail.

Cop (from just outside my down window): “Did you know it’s illegal to do a U-turn in the state of Tennessee? Especially like that! How much have you had to drink tonight, son?”
Me: “Um, I didn’t…I don’t…nothing.”
Cop: “I need you to slowly step out of the vehicle, and bring your license and registration please.”

I comply. We stand just behind my car. He shines his flashlight on the passenger side of the car.

Cop: “Doesn’t look too bad, actually. Nothing you can’t buff out anyway.”
Me: “Hope so.”
Cop: “How long you been driving anyway?”
Me: “Um, about 2, maybe 3, months.”
Cop: “Your insurance is going to skyrocket if I write you a ticket right now.”

About 20 seconds creep by in silence.

Cop: “It’s startin’ to get a little chilly. Maybe Fall will be comin’ soon.”
Me (putting together the gut, mustache, and Southern accent and looking for an “in”): “Yeah, I reckon it’ll be deer season before you know it!”
Cop: “Oh yeah! You a hunter?”
Me: “As often as I can be! Bucks, does, centaurs, you name it!”
Cop (chuckling): “That’s great. I like Dickson for whitetail. You?”
Me: “My Pappy and I head on over to Hickman County out I-40 West. We got a shanty out that way.”
Cop: “Sounds nice! Well, look, kid, you got any alcohol in this car?”
Me: “Absolutely not.”
Cop: “What about in this trunk? Would I find anything if I looked in there?”
Me (knowing I have a trunk full of water balloons, water guns, and other weaponry): “Nope. Nothing.”
Cop: “Well, okay then. Drive safe, and tell your friends to quit laughing at you.”
Me: “Certainly.”

And he let me go.

After we finished pelting the freshmen and destroying their float, my passengers told our classmates about our evening, and the Buick became “The Digger,” as a result of its ditch-digging and leaves-tossing maneuver on the pursuing officer. Of course, that was only the beginning of The Digger’s run-ins with the law, meaning this series will have to end with a “to be continued…”
For bloggers who didn’t wear ugly ties and combat boots in 1992, check out these funny blogs!

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  1. Oh, the memories! Can’t wait for the continuation!

  2. What the hell?

    How the hell did you get so lucky. I tried that shit, got pulled over for the same thing by a woman officer, was my politest I could be, and she not only ticketed me but phoned my parents.


  3. Jerry, Glad I could bring ’em back for you. For those of y’all at home, Jerry’s the guy in the middle, with his left arm on my shoulder.

    RedMommy, Your new avatar scares me! Sorry to hear of your lack of success with the Mounties.

  4. Pretty Bride

    I still maintain that one’s criminal record should be disclosed BEFORE the nuptials take place. It’s worked out OK for me so far, but who knows what the future could hold? And what of the children??

  5. Pretty Bride

    Speaking of which, did you notice that “Warnings for Women” and “L.A. Train Wreck Kills at Least 10” were both linked as Related Posts by the automatic content generator?? Two words: RED FLAG.

  6. ahahahahaha! Your “pappy”?! lol, loving it. I’m glad he let it go or you might’ve had to pull out your banjo and

  7. And they wonder why young 16 year old boys have such high insurance rates….

    How did you store the water balloons without them popping? We always had trouble putting them in the trunk.

  8. PB, Calm down. You wouldn’t have changed your decision!

    ThatGirl, The banjo was Plan B. No doubt.

    Matt, I can’t wait to pay those rates in 15.9 years! I put a blanket down underneath them. And, The Digger had kickass shocks.

  9. avatgardener

    (better late than never – – not here yesterday, I missed a fine post.)

    Terrified teens trash trouper/tires. Team-mates titter, tee-hee. Testing aTtorney talent, talks ticket termination.


    Polite pre-law and punks pelt police/pebbles. Pals play ‘possum. Pranksters pelt parade-ers.

    (hope it was worth waiting for)

  10. Our family had a 1977 Ford LTD II when I was in high school. Its sheer size, coupled with the fact that it was somewhat creatively registered (fraudulently) and insured (not), I didn’t take my driver’s test until I was 21 since the state of NJ is fussy about such things.

  11. My foundest memory is stashing you, Jody, and Trey in the trunk so we could avoid paying $10 for parking at Opryland, by telling them I was there to pick up my sister….. what car on the market today can you stash three men comfortably in the trunk! Nice…however the 10mpg you got might not be so great right now…I believe I was paying $.75 gallon back then..

  12. AG, Worth the wait!

    ShieldMaid, Shame on NJ! Sounds like your Ford and my Buick could’ve achieved a combined MPG of 20.

    GW, I recall being quite comfortable in the Buick’s trunk, oddly enough. Of course, I weighed 135# then.

  13. Pingback: why i’ll never again drive my car on a BMX track | Father Muskrat

  14. An interesting view of the automotive industry. Where do you see the future of the industry, will it ever recover or will there be major casulties?

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