I’m no expert in metaphysics, but I swear I heard an audible laugh out loud and the phrase “Do you remember …” from the other side of the urn yesterday morning when I read her daily cartoon to Karen. I do know had she been sitting across from me at the kitchen table for coffee, she would have choked on her coffee, laughed out loud and said, “Do you remember …”

To set the stage, the cartoon was Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman’s Zitz, the saga about life with a teenager. In this strip, there are just two characters, Jeremy, a 16 year old with a driver’s license, a ’62 VW van and dreams of independence — preferably with room service — and his oldest friend Hector, most often Jiminy Cricket to Jeremy’s Pinnocchio. As they are driving in the van, Jeremy says, “Uh-Oh … It’s starting to rain” and his best bud says, “I got it.” As the rain starts coming down harder in the next and last frame, Hector says “We should get the roof fixed.” Jeremy’s response, “Why? Does your Mom want her umbrella back?”

The LOL moment is a 1958 Mercury convertible I bought for Karen to use way, way back before we were married. I can still picture it — and I suspect she could/would picture it as well. We probably have a different picture in our minds, though.

I remember a sleek white convertible with plush red leather seats and all the electronic conveniences available at the time. Karen would recall a dirty white vehicle with rust holes in the floor, rips in the upholstery, electronic conveniences that didn’t work {like the driver’s side electric window} and brakes that grinded every time the power brake pedal went to the floor. Oh, and the lack of canvas on the roof.

Teenage ingenuity being what it is, I made the best of the situation by duct taping a plastic coated tablecloth to the remnants of canvas. It actually worked quite well unless it rained hard or you drove over 35 mph for more than five minutes. But I always left plenty of duct tape in the car for emergency repairs. Oh, did I mention it was a red and white checkered tablecloth? {at least it was color coordinated}

The car itself isn’t the memory maker, although I bought it for $35 {not a lot of money, even back in the mid ‘60s} and sold it for the same amount when it became due for inspection about six or seven months later. No, the story is the memories made in it.

Karen worked in the international department of a bank in downtown Paterson at the time. Most of the time she drove with the convertible roof down, but as late summer/early fall rolled around, she was forced to raise the roof. One morning, her boss parked next to her in his Mercedes, and, as she told the story, they walked across the street and into the bank chit chatting. As they went upstairs and she headed for her cubicle and he to his corner office, he said to her, “Nice wheels, by the way, kid.”

As she told me the story she said she was mortified. I don’t know, I thought it was a compliment.

People in Paterson became accustomed to seeing the red-and-white checkered convertible around town. What they were not used to seeing was another memory-making moment.

It was Christmas time and we went looking for a Christmas tree after work a couple of Fridays before Christmas. She picked one out, but, of course, we didn’t have a roof to tie it onto. So I came up with the bright idea of standing it upright in the back seat, with its peak peaking out the hole in the canvas. I don’t remember exactly why we didn’t transport the tree from stand to her home, but it ended up sitting in the back seat for almost a week. “I really don’t want to drive with a Christmas tree in the back seat,” she would say to me every night. “I don’t mind,” I would respond, “but I can’t take it on the highway.” {I was going to school at Manhattan College in The Bronx at the time}

And so, she did drive it back and forth to work with people staring and laughing … and maybe getting into the holiday spirit. And the tradition of decorating my vehicles for Christmas was born {one Karen really didn’t share}.

An LOL moment and trip back in time — thanks to a cartoon 46 years later.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Forgiveness is not about being nice and kind; it’s about letting go so you can claim the amazing future that awaits you.


About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in family, Laughter, Memories, relationships, stories and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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