“So Grandpa comes by the house in his old pickup, and he tells me to get in. I’m so nervous I’m shaking. Grandpa reaches under the seat and pulls out a quart canning jar half full of something he presses on me, ‘Have some of this-here Panther Piss, Kid,’ he says to me. After a couple swallows of Panther Piss, I wasn’t afraid of anything any more.We have all these dirt roads up aroud Tonopah, and Grandpa takds me out and over them for miles and miles to get to his brother’s house. His brother’s house is a mining shack, and mining shacks aren’t put together with a lot of care— back in mining days everybody knew they’d be moving on real soon. Great, Great Uncle Frank just never moved on.So we drive all the way out to Frank’s place in the middle of nowhere, and I get the hang of the clutch and the gas and everything on the way over there. So we get right up close to Frank’s old shack and suddenly both both Grandpa and I realize I’ve been taught to go but not to stop! I graze the side of the house, a mining shack that was tossed together ages ago, and the whole thing cames down right on top of Great-great Uncle Frank! He lifts up a corner of the roof and jumps out just hopping mad; I mean, his ears glowed he was so ticked off.Then when he sees it’s me, and Grandpa explaines how he forgot to teach me to stop, everybody startes to laugh.We put the shack back together, and hammer in a few extra nails to boot, have a few slugs of Panther Piss together, play a couple games of cards, and I drive back to my Mom’s place, being careful to practice stopping a whole bunch of times before we even get to paved roads with stop signs or anything like that.When we got back to my house, Grandpa never says a word to my mom about knocking Frank’s house down. Nobody asked, he said, so he didn’t have to tell…

As told to Dandy by Ruthie Roark in 1974———
CR 23 Dec 2011, RedBubble.com/people/dayonda



Joined March 2008

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Artist's Description

Ruthie Roark gets her first driving lesson and knocks down her first house when her grandfather takes her out sandy desert roads to visit his brother.

Artwork Comments

  • Lynx
  • Lisa Kenny
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