My mom once drove without a license for over seven years. She’d had a license in her home state, but when she and Dad moved to another state, she opted to risk getting caught rather than take the required exam.

I’m surprised she got away with it for that long. Her driving skills were not great. When we pointed that out, she’d protest, “I’ve had only three accidents and they were all while backing up. I’m just not a good backer.”

She once decided to take the car to run errands, even though Dad had removed its driver’s seat to make some repairs. She put a flimsy, folding, aluminum lawn chair in its place. It wasn’t anchored to the floor and had no seat belt. When she pulled away from a stop sign, she and the chair tumbled backward to the floor, where she struggled like an upended turtle trying to right itself.

Eventually, Mom got pulled over in a road check, and due to her expired out-of-state license, was cited to a traffic court in our small town. She showed up in court clutching her newly obtained driver’s license, hoping for a small fine. She was shocked when the judge fined her $100, which at the time was a week’s pay for Dad (the only bread-winner in the family). The drunk driver whose case was heard right before hers was fined only $25, which illustrates how things have changed since then.

In a panic, Mom told the judge, “I don’t have $100! I don’t know when I’ll ever have $100! I have five kids starting school tomorrow!” The judge took this into consideration and told her to pay it as soon as she could, or she risked going to jail and then he dismissed her.

As usual, Mom kept her sense of humor as she told us about it. She said, “I’ve stocked up on some good books so I can catch up on my reading while I’m in the slammer.” I think she’d been reading too many crime novels.

A few months later, she was at a party and ran into the officer who’d given her the ticket. Anybody else would’ve either left the party or hidden behind the drapes. Not Mom. She sidled up to the officer and his wife and joked, “Hey, I thought you said you were going to put me in jail. I could use the rest. I believe I mentioned that I have five kids.” The officer’s wife laughed and said, “Oh, he could never stand to see a woman get a little rest.”

I think the judge let her infraction slip between the judicial cracks since she never paid the fine. It’s fortunate because I can’t picture my mom in jail. For one thing, our family would have descended into a Lord of the Flies situation without her guidance. Also, she was short and plump and wouldn’t have looked good in the black-and-white striped prison uniform common then.

They may have put her to work in the prison laundry and her laundry skills weren’t any better than her driving skills. She’d probably shrink everything and throw something red in with a load of whites and turn the inmates’ underwear pink like she often did with Dad’s. That might not be such a bad idea. It’d be difficult for a trouble-making inmate to work his cellmates into a riotous state if they constantly were adjusting their tight pink jockey shorts.

2 thoughts on “Mom Gets Busted By the Cops

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