Saturday, April 24, 2010

Old Cars, Old Memories

Wanting to have an old car to drive around town is more about wanting to retain the memories that old cars bring to mind than actually wanting an old car. My '63 Falcon is now back from restoration. My husband and I bought this car about 14 years ago when we had two kids and what we believed was extra time. We worked on the car every once in a while but never quite finished any part of it and after a couple more children actually just towed it over to the next house. As two children grew to six, the Falcon sat in the garage and was finally uncovered to tow to Mid-Southern Restoration in Cookeville, TN. Ruby arrived home this week and I have driven her every day. She reminds me...
Cars were a major part of our family's life. Basically, whatever $400 deal my dad’s friend AJ had on his lot was what found a home in our driveway. And they were Gaaauurgous! We all learned to shift gears, we all had strong arms from lack of power steering and we all knew how to stick a pencil down the middle of the air filter to start the Dodge Dart or the Belvedere. We stalled on cold mornings in the middle of highways and intersections and knew what it was like to get blasted by horns or pushed out of traffic by a stranger. We were rich in kids so we were rich in clunky cars and all the stories that went along with them.
My mom’s cars from the family station wagon to the Volare to the Sapporo held stories of carrying eight kids and a grandmother cross country from Nashville to California, my brother Robert falling out into the street and rolled up fingers in electric windows, all including a recitation of the rosary. The car was one place mom and dad could have our attention individually or as a group. We fought over who would sit next to the window or front seat shot gun and with our thumbs to the ceiling, we held up bridges we passed under. Each car we owned had it’s own memories and stories.
Cars taught us all great lessons. What we were to our friends was deeper than our used cars or Thrift Shop clothing or handed down shoes. What we made of ourselves stemmed from learning to shift gears and handle sudden changes without fear or disappointment. The good parts of life were not always automatic but everything could be worked out if we prayed, worked hard, and were grateful.
I can't wait to see what other memories crop up from drivin' around in my new, old car. I have to say, I already have a genuine gratefulness to the one who invented power steering and power brakes.
What about it? Any great car stories from the past?

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