Reflection of the Dashboard Lights

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By ebturner
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When I was a small child living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, my family would often drive three hours to go to Dallas, Texas to visit my dad's family. We spent many holidays there. We would usually start the drive after dad got home from work and would arrive there at night. This was during the days before seatbelts were required to be worn. Because seatbelts weren't required, my brother, my sister, and I would argue about who got to lay where in the backseat. One of us would lay in the back window area, one would lay in the seat, and one unlucky soul would lay on the floor (which meant the hump in the middle was right in your back). I remember during these drives, I would wake up and everyone would be asleep in the car, except my dad who would be driving. 

I can see it in my mind's eye as if it was yesterday. Such a sweet memory.

Dad would have the radio playing and window cracked open as he smoked a cigarette and my eyes were always drawn to the reflection of the dashboard lights in the driver's side window. Dad never knew that I would wake up and see those lights. But I recall with clarity that every time I saw them, I was assured that everything was okay and all was right in the world. I would then return to sleep. Those lights were a gentle reassurance to me that dad was in control and nothing wrong was going to happen.

Nowadays when I'm driving at night, I'll look over at my driver's side window and see the reflection of the dashboard lights and I think of my dad and it is comforting.

I told dad about this as I got older. It was my way of telling him that I trusted him and loved him. Dad is gone now. It'll be four years this August. I miss him every day. I miss seeing him in the driver's seat, driving that car. 

Oh what I would do to go back to those days. 
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