From the very outset of the car project, Bob did his best to have the initiative for any activity be Kayte’s. She planned the trip from Dallas to Austin the following weekend, as it happened, Easter weekend.
Wild flowers bloomed along the highway as the family van headed south, stopping in Austin to pick up older brother to be the navigator to the backwoods used car lot. The owner of the lot and car was a bit rough but he’d had the faded yellow Beetle’s battery charging to be ready for them. Dusty, dinged from a collision or two, the little VW did not look too promising. Kayte grew rhapsodic…and wouldn’t you know, the little car started on the first try! Still, as Bob handed over the cash, the car salesman warned, “I’d be careful if I’s you. I think maybe some kinda’ vermit has been livin’ in there!”
Bob drove the Beetle as the family van followed behind. The first thing Kayte noticed was the trail of blue smoke from the oil burning; the next thing they all noticed was that each time Bob put on the brakes, the VW veered wildly to the right. The first stop back in Austin was the brake shop. Kayte could hardly bear to leave the little car behind; but the brake shop guy promised to have it ready that afternoon.
Overnight, Kayte and her dad made their plan for getting the car three hours up the interstate. Being Easter weekend, they reasoned, roads would be quiet in the morning. With a car which needed to go pretty slowly, they reasoned, best to travel early in the day to avoid extra holiday traffic. New brakes installed, the team was ready for an early expedition.
Fathers often assess risk and take it on themselves. As Kayte watched from behind, seeing the cloud of smoke, observing the disastrous braking situation, she experienced in a fresh, direct way how her father took reasoned risks to protect her. His willingness spoke volumes. So did putting her in charge of planning.