Friday, December 20, 2013

Smooth Journeys Into the Past


  You never really know how bumpy a road is until you travel it with a pot of chili in your trunk. Suddenly, every bump and turn becomes an obstacle certain to sling deep red sauce across the interior of your car. While most of my adult life has been spent driving sport utility vehicles, a truly gentle ride has been out of the question, until now.  

  My dream car, you see, had always been a deep red Cadillac because I remember the smooth ride of my childhood when perched in the backseat of my grandparents Cadi'.  We would sail down Highway 31 with my grandmother behind the wheel.  She was dressed impeccably and wore her leather gloves that matched the leather interior of the Cadillac.  All of five feet tall, she handled that car like a race car driver who owned the road. We flew through traffic like a laser beam splitting atoms, with everyone moving out of the way of the tiny woman in the big car.  With my feet sticking straight out in front of me, I sat in the large backseat watching the woman behind the wheel, knowing that someday that would be me.

  As luck would have it, at 49, a deep red Cadillac was placed in my name.  While the ride is smooth and the leather is soft, I've discovered that the joy is more for the driver than the passengers.  I love my car, but have found that most who sit in the back seat experience some kind of motion sickness.   It's a common complaint from the back seat passengers and I'm starting to realize that they aren't having the same joyous experience as my 1969 backseat ride with my grandmother.   

 For those who won't verbalize their discomfort, the beads of sweat on their brow and the greenish hue to their skin, tells the tale.  Even if I drive like there is a pot of chili in the trunk, the backseat riders feel every bump of the road.  

  My husband, who drives an old pick-up truck that is full of hunting gear and fishing tackle, has been quietly aware, over the years, that his vehicle is the best riding vehicle around.  It is smooth and there is room to stretch out in the oversized cab if you're willing to move the outdoor gear around.   When my family began choosing a ride sitting on top of a tackle box over a ride in my luxury car, I realized that my car is designed for me, only.  My daughter, who is tiny like her grandmother, enjoys the backseat ride of the Cadillac, so she and I fly down the road in the car of my dreams, oblivious to the obstacles in our way.  

 Even though I'm keenly aware of those bothered by the tight suspension of the deep red Cadillac, the same color as the chili in the trunk, it is still my dream car.  A fifty year old dream cannot be discounted simply because of a bumpy backseat ride.   My car, a gift from my father, takes me down roads that are not defined by bumps in the asphalt, but are gentle paths back to my past and a time when our family was whole.  Thank you Dad. 

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