A teenage daughter learning to drive ... now that's a column just waiting to be written.
But for me, it's a column that leads me to write about my father, which means my daughter Maggie will have to wait her turn.
My dad passed away 18 years ago. At times, he was the type of guy who would yell at you for something trivial, yet pat you on the back and offer comfort on a day when you just thought he was going to kill you.
Let me take you back to the early 1980s when I was less than two years into having a driver's license. It was winter, and in attempt to get ahead of the snow that was coming down that day, I thought I would move our car, shovel out the snow that was already in our spot, and then put the car back.
That worked - except for the fact that we lived on a hill, and the car was parked in front of my cousin's Baracuda, which she did not move to get ahead of the snow. I lived on a block surrounded by five houses that were filled with my relatives, but that's another column for another day.
Anyway, with a little help from an icy patch on the road under my rear wheels of the family car, I moved her car for her, and in the process, I took her bumper along for the ride. She went off on me. My mom went off on me.
My dad wasn't home from work yet. Good thing.
I waited outside, in the cold, for him to come home. I thought if I owned up to my mistake right away, maybe a stay of execution was in order. My dad was a policeman who carried a gun around eight hours a day.
But on this day, he surprised me. He listened to my story, asked me if I did it on purpose - that wasn't a trick question, either. When I replied "no" (still wondering if this was a trick question), he told me not to worry about it, that the insurance would take care of it.
This is from the same man who if you turned the TV channel while he was watching "Cannon," "Barnaby Jones" or any one of a million cop shows in the 1970s, he would go all Charles Bronson on you in a New York vigilante minute. Trust me, you did not change over to another program until after Jack Lord said, "Book him, Danno!"
Gotta love the guy. I did and still do.
So as Maggie works toward her learners' permit, as I notice her foot on the gas too long and not on the brake quickly enough, I will hear my father's voice. And for those who remember that decibel level - loud, like mine - that shouldn't be too hard.
Scott Franco is a member of the Altoona Mirror sports staff, a husband and a father of four. He can be reached at 946-7528 or sfranco@altoona