I love anything fast, fast cars, fast music and fast food. It all started on my 16th birthday. After blowing out the candles on my chocolate cake, my parents handed me a set of keys and told me to go outside. Low and behold, a red Z-24 Cavalier sat parked in our driveway. Once I quit freaking out and started the shiny red sports car, Neil Sedaka’s “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen” was blaring from the speakers. I was in love. The first Saturday night I took the car out, my grandmother passed me racing down the strip of our two traffic light town doing well over sixty in a thirty mile an hour zone. Needless to say, the night ended abruptly. From the first moment the engine raced and tires squealed making a turn on two wheels, I was hooked. I had a need for speed.

Over the years, I have become well acquainted with the police force in my small town. I used to try to cry, flirt or bribe my way out of a ticket but it never worked. Except for that one time in my early twenties. Heading home speeding down Highway 12 on a warm spring evening, I saw blue lights come from out of nowhere. Great, another ticket. I was probably on my tenth by that point in the year. The officer walked up to the car, disappointed, shaking his head and said, “Valerie”, we were on a first name basis by then. “What am I going to do?”, he continued. Almost instinctively, I reached over, grabbed the plate of leftovers from the night’s family dinner at Moma and Daddy’s and offered it up saying “I don’t know. Are you hungry? I’ve got leftovers from Moma’s”. He snatched that plate out of my hand lifting up the tin foil for a bite as he walked back to his patrol car. Whew. No ticket.

Everybody around town knew my Moma. She ran the deli/bakery of my family’s mom and pop grocery store. Smiling and cutting up with customers whether she was slapping mile high meringue on chocolate pies or slinging deep-fried extra crispy chicken onto the steam table, everyone loved Mrs. Jackie. Hardest working woman I have ever known. She made serving the hundreds that came down the lunch line each day look easier than Jesus feeding loaves and fishes to the multitude. That cop knew he had hit the jackpot when I offered up her leftovers, still warm meatloaf, mashed potatoes and English peas resembling a bird’s nest, a cornbread muffin and slice of her famous fudge pie.

I am an habitual speeder much to the dismay of my insurance agent. I am always in a hurry trying to make it from Point A to Point B like I’m trying to break some land speed record. I’d like to put my foot on the accelerator, stomp the gas and get to my goal weight a heck of a lot faster. I try to calculate if I lose X amount per week, I will weigh Z by so and so’s wedding or Y by Christmas, doing some complex algebraic formula in my head. It has taken me what seems forever to lose these 60 pounds. Yes, I know you’re more likely to keep it off when you lose it slowly but I find no comfort in that platitude. I know I can’t give up but I’m just so tired of not getting the results as fast as I want.

Will I give up? Nah, guess I’ll just set the cruise control and keep heading down the highway. Maybe not the fastest way to get where I’m going but mark my words, I’ll get there. No matter how long it takes.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
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