Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why I Keep My Mustang

When I was 16 my Aunts gave me a 1966 Ford Mustang. It was one of those gifts I never fathomed receiving. It was a speechless moment. I didn't deserve that car. I received it on a February night, following one of my high school basketball games. They made me drive the van home, and when I pulled up to our house, there was this car sitting on the driveway cement pad all bathed in lights with a big red bow on it. At first I wasn't sure what was going on...why was this really cool car sitting on my dad's driveway. And then came the explanation: I was supposed to get it on my birthday, but the car was not ready yet. Also, I got a huge speeding ticket days after my birthday - my parents grounded me for three months - which covered Christmas. So my aunts couldn't give me the car till my jail sentence was over. It was a very fun gift to receive and use! I obviously always drove the speed limit and obeyed every single traffic law, since my car was a precious gift to me...

It was a fun car to have in high school and college. My friends would ask to use my car to take a girl on a date. Or we would pile lots of people into it, head for town to a movie or something like that. When Tara and I got married in August, we had her Omni and my Mustang...I obviously had the coolest car! It was too cool though, cause in January when the temperature hit freezing, my heater quit working, and I didn't have enough money to fix it, and the Omni wasn't working well, and my wife didn't like driving the Mustang for reasons I'll never understand (!), so we shelved the Mustang and bought a Geo Metro!!!!! (it was black, so it was still cool to drive).

That was almost ten years ago. In those ten years I haven't driven my car very much. I've been busy, not enough money, no good reasons, afraid of messing up the engine, etc. And the car is not holding up as well. Whenever I go to my friends house for one of his kids birthday parties, a relative of his always offers to buy my Mustang. I always tell him no, but I think my wife keeps encouraging him! I don't have the money to fix it up right, or to pay insurance for it, or to keep it running. So why do I keep it?

I like to entertain the thought that someday me and the boys will spend lots of time together under the hood. My mechanic friends tell me that a 1966 Mustang is the perfect car to tinker on...I almost believe them. So I hang on to the car, even though others could take better care of it. I hang on to it because it was a gift, and I hope to use that gift to build some neat memories with my kids. Maybe someday, in 2026 my boys will be driving around a sixty year old car that they helped fix up...and when they drive it - going the speed limit and obeying all traffic laws and environmental reguluations - they'll have just as much fun remembering the stories we generated in trying to fix the car up.

I think a neat use for the car would be this: when Emma starts dating at age 29, (okay, at least maybe when she is sixteen...) I'll let her drive the Mustang for the date...or if I approve of her boyfriend, he can drive the car...but on one condition: she has to let her brothers sit in the back seat and go along on the date. I figure that the boyfriend will love the idea of driving the Mustang more then he loathes the idea of having Emma's brothers sitting in the back seat. This way Emma stays out of trouble, the Mustang gets put to good use, and I have nothing to worry about...

No comments: