The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

August 14, 2013

Solving the case of Granny's missing car

Keith Kappes
CNHI News Service

---- — She lived in a small town in the country.

Skid marks covered the state highway for 50 yards on both sides of her driveway.

Those skid marks were left by strangers who didn’t know she lived there and that she always backed out of the driveway without looking.

Many had to slam on their brakes or swerve to avoid a collision.

In fact, she literally came roaring out of the driveway because of a small incline. The old car's muffler was defective so it sounded like an airplane taking off.

After all, she had been driving for 70 years and that road was just a dirt path when she moved there.

She was a retired social worker and her car was her most prized possession.

She gave up her career just short of 80, but would never consider surrendering her driver's license.

Her neighbors loved Granny, but worried about the number of close calls she had survived at the end of that driveway.

Her hearing wasn’t the best so she didn’t notice the blaring horns and angry shouts of the drivers who managed to miss hitting her rusty old sedan.

As she began to show signs of forgetfulness, her family grew concerned she might drive away some morning to the post office or grocery store and forget the way home.

Or she might pull into the path of a vehicle that couldn't stop or veer away.

In time, two of her sons came up with a plan to put an end to her driving adventures.

Sure enough, the old car disappeared one night. It was said that a car that looked much like Granny's was raffled off at a pool hall in the same little town.

A few hundred dollars were discreetly added to her bank account from the proceeds. For a few days, she seemed not to notice that the old car was missing.

Then one day her sons came to visit and noticed a sheriff's patrol car in Granny's driveway.

Concerned, they rushed into her home to find her sitting with an old friend, a deputy sheriff.

She had reported the old car as stolen and demanded that it be found and returned.

Winking at the sons, the wise old deputy promised her he would recover the car or what it was worth.

Granny's bank statement arrived a few days later.

From that point on, she loved to talk about the fast police work that got her money for that "stolen" car.

Keith Kappes is the publisher of The Morehead News in Morehead, Ky.