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Eleven years ago we bought an old golf cart from a golf course who also bought it used and drove it into the ground.  By our estimation the vehicle is now 25 years old.  It is nothing fancy: its threadbare tires give zero traction; it has no canopy protection from the sun and can only seat three small people.  But, it is a workhorse.  My husband drives it on short hops from the house to the barn and back usually loaded with tools and implements.  It is perfect for bringing the very young and the very old around the land and into the woods.  A little plastic trailer hitches to the back for hauling all manner of debris from one place to another.

It has one more important function, which all the grandchildren know: it offers the first driving experience for those approaching the time when we must trust them in cars on the open road.  This year cousins Matt and Chris turned 16 and no doubt recalled their first solo drives as they took to the real streets behind real steering wheels.  The paths through our fields are a perfect place to learn in a cart that cannot exceed 3 miles an hour.

So on a recent Sunday afternoon our 13-year-old twins, Brian and Marielle, were invited to drive the cart with their younger sister, Morgan—unaccompanied.  We could hear their squeals across the open land but trusted their safety.  They were still laughing when they returned—telling tales about the other’s lack of driving know-how.  They even let 9-year-old Morgan have a turn.  No wonder I saw “off-road” tracks beside the driveway the next day!  Fortunately they have a few more years of golf cart practice to perfect their skills.