Day 29: Out On The Road Today

He is wearing a jaunty Irish tweed cap, set carefully and squarely on his head. The hair below it is closely cropped and gray. The ears are rather pronounced – the gift, most probably, of aging cartilage. Both hands are planted firmly on the wheel, at 10:00 and 2:00. He drives smoothly and safely, obeying speed limits and signaling politely.

Ah, but his heart is singing!

Well, his heart might be cholesterol-clogged and tired. I can’t tell, from behind him in traffic. I can tell, at least, that his soul is soaring.

Or it ought to be.

He’s driving a beautiful 1965 burnt orange Mustang, perfectly restored. It’s a crisp clear winter day. He feels 30 years younger than he is, behind the wheel of his classic car. He sits there like an heir to the throne.

Ideally, he’s heading out of town to weave through the foothills and head into the mountains. That car wants its freedom. So does its driver.

While I’ve always driven bombers, I appreciate a sweet ride when I see one.

I tried explaining that to an acquaintance years ago – an engineer who drove a Porsche. Mind you, some of my best friends are engineers. This fellow wasn’t one of them, though, so his Porsche made for good conversational fodder at an awkward moment. I asked how it handled up in the mountains, adding that it must feel great to drive it a little too fast on those tight curling ribbons of highway.

The engineer got a shocked expression on his face and averred that he never took the Porsche out of town.

You bought a hot sports car for trips to the grocery store?

High time, then, for a minivan. You’re one of the boys of summer, mired in the mud of maturity now that it’s fall.

What car from your past makes you smile?

6 thoughts on “Day 29: Out On The Road Today

  1. Kevin

    It was a sad day when they paved the Pikes Peak road. Spitting gravel around those hairpins is one of my most beloved driving memories. It wasn’t a sports car, but it still made me smile.

    • A sports car on the old Pikes Peak road would probably not have been the best idea; prudence isn’t always the sign of an old fart. I should talk — I had a disreputable VW Dasher held together with butterfly bolts and baling wire that loved Loveland Pass :-)

      • Kevin

        I did not love the passes in my wife’s college car. It was a mid-70’s VW “Super” Beetle, but there was nothing super about it. It was cute, but it supremely gutless, prone to wind gusts, too short from the steering wheel to the pedals for my long legs and slower over the passes then a fully loaded wide load semi truck.

        • My Dasher (1976, baby blue) was so slow on inclines that I used to lean forward in my seat to help it along. I felt safe on those high guardrail-less passes, though, given the pace. Bald tires provided an extra little thrill. That was a tough little car — a VW/Audi mix. I bought it well-used, drove it across the country, and generally neglected it for years.

  2. Wendy Heath

    This piece is the best so far. Brilliantly written, dear. So vivid! Perhaps it resonates with me as my husband is, as they say, a “car guy” and some of it has rubbed off…

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