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Teaching them to Drive

Last week I attended the OKANAGAN READS presentation by folk singers Rika Ruebsaat and Jon Bartlett, of Princeton, and was charmed by Jon’s reading of a poem from the newspaper, the Princeton Star (23rd of June 1927). I include it here.

Ford advertisement
Ford advertisement in Similkameen Star. Double click to enlarge the image.


The Sweetheart

To learn to drive the auto, dear,

First push the lever into gear;

Then push your left foot in like this;

That’s fine! Now teacher gets a kiss.

Now, step upon the starter, so;

That makes the precious engine go.

Now let your left foot back like this;

Good! Teacher gets another kiss.

Upon the gas you must now step,

That fills the engine full of pep.

That’s great! You are a clever Miss,

Here, teacher gets another kiss.

Now change to second. Now to high.

You do that just as good as I.

Now stop the car right here, and then

We’ll do the lesson once again.

The Wife

First, see your car is out of gear,

How? By this gear-shift lever here.

How can you tell? Why feel it, see?

The thing is simple as can be.

Now, step on that to make it start.

Great Scott! You’ll tear it all apart

If you don’t take your foot off quick

The second that it gives a kick.

Now throw your clutch. For goodness sake!

Your clutch! Your clutch! No, not your brake!

Why? ‘Cause I tell you to, that’s why,

There now; you needn’t start to cry;

Now, pull this lever into low.

Step on the gas and start off slow.

Look out! You almost hit the fence.

Here, let me drive. You’ve got no sense.

Busy Salesman to New Driver

Here’s your gas and here’s your spark,

Turn your lights on after dark.

Here’s your brake, emergency;

Here it’s held in neutral, see?

Here it’s low, and here it’s high,

That’s all. don’t hit a truck. Good-bye.

Source: Bartlett, Jon and Rika Ruebsaat. Dead Horse on the Tulameen. Settler Verse from BC’s Silmilkameen Valley. Princeton, BC: Canada Folk Workshop, 2011. With thanks to Rika and Jon!


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