Puddin’ Head/Country Boy Driver’s Ed

        When I was in High School we had a Driver’s Ed instructor everyone called Puddin Head.  He was the first patient I diagnosed with narcolepsy.  (I was into the doctor thing early, but then it didn’t count.)

        Pudd would fall asleep and I’d drive all the way to South Carolina.  He usually woke up when I’d go through the Dairy Queen.  He liked the Dilly Bars or whatever they called ’em back then.

        Pudd always said I was gonna be a Doctor, ’cause I aced all his tests.  Of course they weren’t very difficult.  He’d ask  a question like:  “Following too closely may result in a rear end what?”

        All you had to do was write:  “collision.”

        Or maybe:  “Look both ways when crossing the inter what?”

        Answer:  “section.”  You get the idea.

        As remarkable as it might seem, a few had to repeat.  Leroy was one of them.  He got thrown out of chemistry for asking if you could freeze fire.  Oh well.

         We sure were naive back then.  We used slide rules, didn’t have computers, barely knew what splitting atoms might be, and the only terrorist we knew was King Kong.  We were scared of him.

        I don’t think the world will ever be the same.  I am certain it will never be as simple.

Dr. B

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14 Comments on “Puddin’ Head/Country Boy Driver’s Ed”

  1. Mrs. Chili Says:

    HUH! My driver’s ed. course also heavily featured Dairy Queens. Funny..

  2. drtombibey Says:


    North or South, we’re all the same huh?

    Dr. B

  3. Cindy Carter Says:

    Driver’s Ed….We just got the book, read the stuff, got a permit and learned to drive.

    Life is a simple or as complicated as you make it Dr. B. You can see wonder everywhere you look. Keeping that child like attitude is what helps.

    You can still be a scientist and still see the wonder in the stars that shine at night.

    And, I am still afraid of King Kong. But…I used to dream about bears chasing me. Maybe there is something to having golden locks when I was a kid.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    I used to worry about dem bears too.

    For a doctor I guess I am still the same old simple guy.

    One fellow I like in my book is so simple, but so earnest. He searches so hard for the truth that you can’t help but like him in spite of the fact he is so naive.

    I like folks like that. As Lester Flatt would say, they didn’t get above their raising.

    Dr. B

  5. pandemonic Says:

    That’s kind of scary, Dr. B. I mean the questions on the test. You should see the test questions they give the kids in my state. You’d have to be a genius to pass it, or at least a college student, which is why about 50% fail, even the A students.

    We also had employees who fell asleep in a similar manner. I never thought driver ed could be so boring. Me, I’d be awake and clinging to the passenger door the entire time.

  6. drtombibey Says:


    Yeah they are tough on ’em now. When I took driver’s ed we had just gotten past the horse and buggy era.

    Dr. B

  7. ribbie Says:

    I remember my driver’s ed teacher (the coach) made me go to the backseat when I turned the key with the ignition already on. I didn’t get to drive at all that day. We also had to practice in the gym in these bumper car like contraptions that had shifters on the steering column while watching a film as if it were the road and respond to potential hazards – like a primitive video game.

  8. drtombibey Says:


    Man that sounds like my Coach.

    One day we all got to rassling in the gym and caused a big commotion. He blew his whistle over and over again. He was red faced and I thought his eyes were gonna pop out of his head.

    I don’t remember the whole speech but it ended with, “BOYS! This is the reason the Communists are gettin’ ahead of us!”

    We felt real bad and worried for a day or two that we might be the demise of the free world.

    Dr. B

  9. Billy Says:

    I didn’t have drivers ed. My mom took me to the high school parking lot near by, then we went around the block several times. After I practiced enough with one of my parents in the car and memmorizing the booklet the best I went for the test. All my friends had flunked it several times and once the got the paper test passed told stories of several failed driving tests.

    So when Eddie said he would take me to Neosho a few miles away where you did not have to drive on a busy street for the test I jumped in.

    In the courthouse room where I took the test was a mural by Thomas Hart Benton. It blew me away. I never had seen such art in all my life. When I turned my test in I asked the lady if she had painted it. She smiled, told me about Thomas Hart Benton then graded my paper and said I had passed with a 75.

    “What about the driving test?” I asked.

    She turned to Eddie and asked if I had driven from Joplin. He said I had. She then said if I could navigate the curves from Joplin, I passed.

  10. drtombibey Says:


    I always did think you had an artistic bent.

    I knew one old boy here who started to drive at 13. His daddy ran a mill, and he’d run sacks of grain all around the County for the business.

    One day a deputy stopped him. “Ain’t you David’s boy?”

    “Yes sir.”

    The deputy let him go. Davey never did take Driver’s Ed. It’s too bad. He woulda liked the Dairy Queen.

    Dr. B

  11. Karen Says:

    My husband was driving in Alabama in the 70s from the time he could barely see over the steering wheel. His daddy was a used car dealer and was always shifting cars from here to there. As a 10 year old he’d sit on the seat on a phone book so he could see over the steering wheels of those big old cars and he could only just reach the pedals. He would follow his daddy home from wherever the got the car. One day they rounded a to find a police car sitting right there. His daddy just knew they were going to get busted, so he pulled over before the policeman had a chance to wave him down…and Mike just kept on driving and sailed right on by!! I shake my head at how either of them have survived.

    Me? I learnt to drive in an old Datsun 120Y the minute I turned 16 (literally – Dad took me out at midnight on my birthday) with my dad yelling, “Brake, brake, BRAKE!!!”. After Dad taught me the basics, Mum took over. She was a bit more relaxed! And, I passed my driving test first go. Been driving 18 years now and have never had a ticket…which is just as well because my husband’s had enough for both of us! When he moved to Australia he discovered that we are rather more strict in law enforcement on the road than in the US – much to his chagrin. It’s his favourite topic to bemoan to anyone who will listen…probably something only a fellow American can truly appreciate. All about freedom and rights or something??!! 🙂

  12. Amber Says:

    Because I went to High School/College in a special type pilot program, I only visited High School for a few classes. One of them was driver’s Ed. It was so funny, that my instructor was also my french tutor, so all of my instruction was completely in french! He used to make fun of the other students in the car. It was horrible (funny). What a thing to look back on now though! LOL!

  13. drtombibey Says:

    Ms Karen,

    Yeah we Americans can get worked up about individual freedoms sometimes. Cars rank way up there, too. Probably has held back mass transit to some degree.

    Dr. B

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    If my instructions had been in French I don’t think I’d made 100 on all those tests.

    As a matter of fact, I might have wrecked.

    Dr. B

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