This Old Car

I was the youngest in my family to graduate from college. This should have been met with cheers and a celebratory handing over of the loan. Well, my parents did pat me on the back and told me the loan payments were now all mine. But what I didn't expect was the crestfallen look on my dad's face. Maybe he was sad that I was moving back in? Or maybe he realized I was all grown up now.

I soon found out. My parents handed me the keys to a classic car--my father's 1966 Ford Mustang, midnight blue and gorgeous. He kept it garaged and tuned up and polished. I was in heaven.

But as the years marched on, the car needed more and more TLC that I couldn't afford. Then came marriage and baby number one. With no air conditioning, front seatbacks that didn't lock in place, and ancient lapbelts that barely held an infant seat securely, I had to let her go. Now it was my turn to cry.

My days were to be spent hauling kids and bikes around in a van. Practical and sturdy, it did its job. Until the past year. When it rains, water pools in the third row, and after a few damp days, boys' stinky socks don't hold a candle to the smell.

Little by little, things begin to go wrong, and now I'm on a first name basis with the car center repair people. I even have a favorite spot in the waiting room, next to the table with the wilting plant and dog-eared magazines, like Bow 'N Arrow and Fish 'N Chum. It's also a good seat to watch their TV, but the Weather Channel doesn't cut it after two hours. So I bring my own 1,000 page book to read. I could be there for days.

One time I was so engrossed in my reading, that I sensed rather than saw everyone in the waiting room stopping whatever they were doing. I looked up into ten pairs of eyes staring at me. The eleventh pair belonged to a man standing at the front, clipboard in hand.

"Mrs.Skaleetza?" he boomed, probably for the fifth time.

"Uh, Skalitza," I corrected, hoping they'd think I just didn't understand his pronunciation of my name.

"Car's ready."

I packed up and raced out of there, paying the bill and grabbing my keys. My van was right by the door. I opened it, climbed in, and noticed that my gray cloth seats had magically turned into pristine black leather. Not a bit of ketchup adorned the dashboard. Sheepishly I got out, and one of the repair men came toward me, laughing. He pointed to my van, in all its dented wonder, one aisle over.

There's a classic car show coming to my area soon. You know where I'll be. :)

*For more about Anne and to read her ramblings, go to www.anneskal.wordpress.com


  1. This is so lovely. Bring back the classics!

  2. I was raised by a single dad. Every year for my birthday, I was "rewarded" with a trip to the classic car show!

    We have shows here in town as well and there is nothing like a 65-66 Pony to make me all misty-eyed.

    Me, I drive a 1995 station wagon with 200K miles. Runs like a dreamboat. But, in my heart, it's a '72 Cuda.

  3. I missed the last classic car show that was near here. My van probably held me back from driving to it. :)


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