11 July 2007

Fun, fun, fun, fun, till daddy took the glue gun away

Today we go back in time to my youth, to the time when cars embarrassed the heck out of me. I'll say, these are facts, to the best of my recollection and in no way intending on disrespecting anyone.

My dad enjoyed his cars. He also was a firm believer in not buying new for the debt factor. As a result he had many cars during my childhood.

The first thing I remember riding was a motorcycle because, naturally, this is the preferred transportation of families with multiple children worldwide. Don't ask.

The very first car I remember from my childhood was a Dodge Charger. It was a muscle car and my dad first repair was taking off the glass packs. The green paint glittered, very 70's ish when the sun hit it and the doors were very possibly composed of surplus Pershing tanks.

Seat belts were optional. Seat belts were never legally required back then, but the doors would undoubtedly shield us from any perils that came our way including a nuclear blast. Later on in years it also had the ability to idle for about 30 seconds past ignition shut down.

~Sputter ...rattle ...sputter ...gshaaw gshawwwww ...pffffffffffff~

Rather like the Uncle Buckmobile.

We had lots of fun in that car but the most memorable trips were when we'd head on down the to the dump or even behind the mall. We'd sit quietly and watch the back exits as Dad would unload our personal garbage straight out of the trunk into the movie theater dumpsters.

No, I take that back.

That actually came later when we owned our Mercury Comet with bucket seats. That car was deemed 'The Vomit' by me and my sisters. It was yellow and small. So small, in fact, my knee print was permanently indented in the back of the two front seats. The time we went from Oregon to So. Cal and back, my uncle bought my dad shocks for the car because they were so blown in the back. Who knew four girls would grow up and be so heavy?

There was the time, when I was about 15 that my dad went through a classic car stage. We had four cars in our drive.

A homely Plymouth Duster that my father wanted desperately for me to buy. I declined. I liked cars in something other than primer grey with the gas tank attached.

Then we had a vintage Plymouth Gran Fury.

You'd climb into the driver seat and the smell would hit you: antique store and moth balls. Adjust the mirror to see out the curved glass in the back window. Fasten your seat belt and grab onto the over-sized steering wheel. As you backed out, you would quickly remember the ¼ turn in each direction before the wheels would respond. Talk about adventures in driving. It needed some work so it sat in our driveway on blocks for a few months, complete with dead battery.

The last vehicle, I would love to own myself. It was a pearly blue Pontiac Tempest, and that baby had a 383 short block. We are talking some serious cojones but sadly, this wondrous machine did not have Dodge Charger tank doors. It had been in at least two accidents. One with the front smashed in and the second, smashing in the driver's door.

I remember repeatedly seeing my father's eyes light up when, as if on cue, some dork would pull up next to us and holler over something like, "NICE car, GRANDPA, wanna race?". Peals of laughter would follow from the other passengers. My dad would just smile, and hit the gas on green. Then the payoff was worth it: waving at them in his rear view window.

Cars made my dad young.

One night some dim bulb decided to steal our cars. The dude hot-wired the gas tank-less Duster.

Robber Bob then tried the one with the dead battery.

The third car was on blocks.

Robber Bob must have been high. I wish I could have seen his face on the third car.

The pinnacle of driving was The Caddy.

It was a 1970 Boat Cadillac Coupe De Ville (I can still hear my father's voice) "...and a 440 engine in it".

It was white, with a black fabric roof that peeled incessantly. The blue stripe on the passenger side door came later from my step-mom hitting a blue postal box. The story goes, my sister mailed a letter and failed to close the door quick enough when getting back in the car. I don't know why I think that is so dang funny.

My dad also carried a case of oil in the trunk. The Caddy leaked oil. The roof peeled which necessitated a giant glue/caulking gun next to the case of oil. My dad would pull over in a vacant lot and we knew that was our cue to duck down while he topped off the oil and/or caulked the roof while he was at it.

One year as our Church camp bus pulled into the parking lot, my sister and I suffered the worst possible fate. The entire bus of High Schoolers rolled by my dad, armed with his caulking gun.

He stood adorned in his I'm A Parent And Will Embarrass You Lime Green and White Striped Terry Cloth Tank Top.

And we saw it. Everyone saw it.

There he was gluing down the fabric roof our Caddy.

Glue. Roof.

Now I wonder how much my van will embarrass my kids. bwhahahaa....

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