The Adventures Of Fatherhood – March 27, 2020

Dear Whom It May Concern,

This is a note to the woman who was walking her two dogs last Sunday morning in Berlin and caught quite a show.

My hope is you got a few laughs at my expense.

You watched a grown man hopelessly chase around a golf cart driven by his 10-year-old, nonverbal autistic son. You heard me scream at the top of my lungs. You heard my mother doing the same thing nearby. You watched my son nearly drive onto two roads with vehicles driving by. You watched me fall trying to get into the moving golf cart. You observed me yank my kid out of the golf cart once he stopped, finally. You saw him hug me when he realized eventually what could have happened. You watched one of the scariest moments of my life.

Now that some time has passed, I don’t blame you one bit if you were giggling a little bit as you watched the scene unfold. I hope you laughed about it later. I don’t even mind. Hours later, I was able to laugh about the whole scene, too. Lord knows we can all use a few good laughs these days.

In case you were wondering, here’s the background as to how the situation unfolded. I’m sure from your vantage point it looked like my son jumped into the golf cart and took off unexpectedly. You would be right, but there’s more to the story.

In the hopes of getting outside and away from it all last Sunday, my son Carson, 10, and I tackled a landscape job in our front yard. We brought our golf cart around to help with hauling away the branches we cut off an overgrown bush in our front yard. In hindsight, it was silly because the branches were over 10 feet long. The golf course was no help.

Because he was acting up a bit, my mom offered to provide a distraction. She and Carson took some of the smaller branches away and returned a few minutes later. They were planning on making another run. As we were loading the golf cart with more branches, Carson saw his opportunity. He took advantage of the key being accidently left in the golf cart. Because he has tried to drive it before, I always take the key out of it when it’s not in use. Since they were just planning to quickly load and go, my mom left the key in it. He seized the day and took off before either of us could do anything.

I have no doubt Carson knew it was wrong. He was not smiling or laughing. He may not have even known how to stop. He was likely worried about what I was going to do to him if he did stop. He probably knew he was in trouble and was going to get as much driving in as possible.

I was in full panic mode, as he was clearly not in control of the golf cart. My immediate concern was keeping him off the roads because vehicles were driving on them. I feared he would hit a vehicle or worse he would flip it, fall out and get run over. I had to get him out of that golf cart as quick as possible before something terrible happened. One thing I realized early on in this two-minute incident was screaming at him was not helping the situation. I had to get in the golf cart and physically get his foot off the gas. It was only shot I figured.

Twice you saw me ungracefully try to leap on to the moving golf cart. I completely missed the first time. I had a better effort the second time, getting one foot on the golf cart before he yanked the steering wheel causing me to tumble to the ground. I ended up banging up my shoulder and ankle in the fall, but it could have bene worse. I could have been run over. When he saw that I was hurt and no longer chasing after him, he stopped and got out of the golf cart.

What was interesting was his face was expressionless. It could have been amazement at what he had done or a relief it was over. The blank face might have been concern for me. What you may have seen was him immediately rubbing his belly with a closed fist. He was signing, “I’m sorry.”

You may have been surprised when I just went back to finishing the landscape job we were working on. I honestly didn’t know what to do at that moment. I knew getting the golf cart away from us certainly a priority, but I thought we should just continue with our task. There would be time later to talk about this situation.

Later that night, my wife and I were telling our older son, Beckett, 11, about the situation and how it happened. I explained how dangerous it was and how lucky we were nothing terrible happened. I made him promise not to speak about the incident in front of Carson. I assured him he knew how serious it was and how he promised to never do it again.

In his typical unique way of putting things, Beckett promised he would never talk about it with his little brother. He said, “Of course, I’m not going to go up to Carson and ask him, “hey, how was that joy ride you took in the golf cart?”

Though I had never thought of it that way, he was right Carson did have a “joy ride.” As an observer of the entire situation, you might agree.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.