Extraordinary Stories

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

The "Hey .... You Do What You Can" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Our son Tad had just stopped to show us his new car.  After a quick inspection in the frigid weather, we returned to the warmth of the house to talk.  One of the topics that came up during our conversation was The Tonight Show.  Seems Jimmy Fallon has a segment once a week where you can respond to a tweet that he makes.  Recently he asked viewers to respond to #WorstCarIEverHad.  Tad told us he thought of all the cars we had as a family when he was young.  Most were used cars that had funny quirks or problems with them at one time or another.  He put all the quirks into one tweet and responded saying: Boogie green car that honked when you turned left.  We all had a good laugh before we began to talk about some of the old cars that our family used to own.  
Austin Healy Sprite with my wife's dog Buddy sitting in it.
The first was an Austin Healy Sprite that when raining would stop running.  Now, that car was actually my wife's car when we got married and it was long gone before we had any children.  Seems the sparkplugs weren't protected very well and when you ran over a puddle the water would short out the plugs.  Next came the 1962 VW Bug that you needed an ice scraper inside when you were driving in cold weather because the inside of the windshield got ice on from talking since the heater didn't work.  I restored that car and shortly after I had finished it my older son and I were struck by a fuel truck and it was demolished.  Luckily, the only damage to us was a broken tooth my son suffered.   We then got a VW Fastback that wouldn't pass state inspection because the bumpers were too rusty.  My friend Jerry, who taught shop classes with me, gave me an aluminum door frame that we cut into lengths and made bumpers out of it.  Even had some neat comments about it.  
The VW Bus
Then came the VW Bus that we needed to vacation along the Chesa- peake.  When we loaded it with two weeks of supplies inside with us, three bikes on the rear, two bikes on the front and suitcases on the roof we needed to travel down hills as fast as the car would go to make it up the other side.  That was the car that while turning left, the horn would blow and when turning on the heater exhaust would spew from the vents.  Then came the Buick station wagon.  It was about a mile in length and painted a putrid green which my daughter titled the Boogie Green car.  She was ashamed to be seen in it and when we would pick her up at school she would get on the floor so her friends wouldn't see her.  Finally we bought a new car.  A robin-egg blue Ford Pinto that within a short time, as my wife was driving it, was hit by a DUI driver and demolished.  Should I go on?  We had the best time remembering the cars that the family had when the kids were young.  Carol was a stay-at-home mom while we tried to make ends meet on my teacher's salary.  Old, used cars were the norm for the family.  But, if it hadn't been that way, we wouldn't have all these fun memories.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

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