I feel the need

I feel the need

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Beast. My favorite car, and my favorite car story.

Good morning!

Last night a friend and I were talking about long ago when our kids were little and we'd go to the beach.  That reminded me of my very favorite car, and my favorite car story, which I thought I'd share with you today.

Back when Skippy was 5  (so thirteen years ago if you're into math)  I was a stay at home mom who babysat kids by day and cleaned offices by night.  Those of you who have lived in the world of in home babysitting know that you need a few tools, one of which is a car that will work for kids of different ages.  Most people prefer mini vans.

I had a 1986 Buick Estate wagon with wood panelling and that fun rear facing seat in the back.

I loved that car.  Let me say it again.  I loved that car.  It was big, and bulky, and not smooth to drive.  It got 8 miles to the gallon on premium, and if I didn't put premium in the tank it would knock for ten minutes after you stopped it.  I don't think the heat or AC even worked.

But I loved it because sitting in it was like sitting on a sofa, and the kids could pile in and out of that thing and I didn't care one second what they were dragging in to the car.  We'd go to the beach and they'd be covered in sand, and it did not matter.  The three boys I had would sit in that back seat and it almost felt like I didn't have kids in the car because they were so far away.

Oh yeah, and I covered that thing with bumper stickers.  I didn't have a particular message I wanted to convey with the stickers, but if I found one that made me laugh, or if someone gave me a bumper sticker, it went on the back of that car.
My beloved vehicle.

Yep, I loved that beast.  And my best car story is this:

So for Peaches' second birthday we were going to have a party. I'd ordered an ice cream cake from the local Dairy Queen, a place I'd been only once or twice. 

The day of the part dawned and we were in the midst of one of those blizzards you can only get along the lake shore of Lake Michigan.  I believe 18 inches fell on my fair city that day.  Right in the middle of the blizzard, the clerk from Dairy Queen called and informed me that if I wanted the cake that day, I had to come and pick it up before 10 AM because they were not going to open at all due to the weather, but that someone would be there for about an hour for cake pick up.

Hubby was at work that morning and then was going to go to WalMart for party stuff.  (And yes, people were calling to say they couldn't come to the party.  Most people know a two year old's birthday party isn't worth venturing out into a blizzard.)

  A smart mother would have cancelled it and stayed home.

I am not what one would call a smart mother.

I called the neighbor lady, a darling older woman who has since gone to Heaven, to please come over and watch the kids while I rolled out in the beast to get the cake.

Did I mention the car was rear wheel drive?

Visibility was zero.  There were points at which I wasn't sure I was even on a road, and I certainly wasn't in a lane.  Didn't matter, I was the only idiot out on the roads that morning.  It was only about four miles from my house to the Dairy Queen, and that might have been the longest four miles I've ever driven.
This is taken from behind the big
sign.  Clearly, the drive was behind
the sign.
What you don't see in this pic
is the big, gaping, ditch.
I managed to get to the street and as I approached the DQ, but a question came to my snow weary brain:

Was the driveway for the DQ BEFORE the big sign or BEHIND the big sign? 

I'd only been to this one a couple times and I didn't recall where, exactly the drive was.  Since everything was buried under many inches of wildly blowing snow, I had no visual reference as to where the drive was.

I flipped a mental coin.  "It's before the sign."   My next clear thought was, "And even if it isn't, we're in the city...there's no ditch, I can just drive up on the grass." I steered the vehicle left, praying the tires would find something solid and make it to the parking lot.

God has a magnificent sense of humor.

The drive, for those of you wondering was BEHIND the sign.  BEFORE the sign was a fairly deep, but fairly narrow, ditch. (something I obviously hadn't noted on my previous trips.) No, I didn't put the car IN the ditch.  That wouldn't be funny.  No, the Beast was long enough that I actually SPANNED the ditch.  The front end rested on the forward bank of the ditch, the back end of the back bank, and the tires hung, suspended, in the ditch itself.

The rear wheels, the power for the vehicle, spun like a pinwheel in loose, fluffy snow.

I knew I was not getting that car out of that ditch on my own.  But I was ten feet from the DQ and I WAS GOING TO GET THAT CAKE!

I opened the door and stepped out of the car...and in to about 15 inches of new snow.  I waded, hip deep, from the ditch to the store where the tiny blond clerk was laughing at me so hard, tears rolled down her face.

"I saw you coming, and I kept yelling, Don't turn!  Don't turn!"

Yeah, thanks.  How about coming out of the building and saying that?

So there we were: the clerk who wanted to unload her cakes and go home, and the mom who wanted her cake and had no way of leaving. 

Ah, but I had a cell phone!  I could call Hubby!  But, hubby wasn't at work anymore  (and we only had ONE cell phone), so I got out the yellow pages  (children, the yellow pages is what we used to find phone numbers before we had Google.) and called the local Walmart.  I explained why I needed to page my husband  (I should really learn to edit how much information I give people.) and after the person who answered stopped laughing, they paged him. 

No dice.  He wasn't at Walmart.  So I called home.  My neighbor lady answered.  She also was laughing.  Turns out, Hubby came home and saw the car gone and knew something was up. When he heard I'd gone to DQ to get the cake, he got back in the car and headed out into the storm to get me.

While this was taken years later, at our new house,
and a different storm, this is pretty much
the type of snow we were dealing with
at the time of this story. (My friend in
Paris cannot believe this is a real picture.)
Funny, how did he know I would be trapped?

Pretty much the same way you all sort of knew how this story was going to end...because you know me.

We left the Beast at he DQ until the next day when a friend of his from a towing company came and pulled it back on to land.  The next morning, Hubby went to church...along with about nine other people  (he can, in fact name the people who were at that service by name) and he got a ride from someone to the DQ to get the car out of the parking lot.

Some few months after, we donated that car to the Rawhide Boys Ranch.  I may drive cars that are nicer, get better gas mileage, and handle better.  But I will never love a car as much as I loved that Beast.

Oh and no one came to the party.  We actually held it the following week.

1 comment:

  1. Your story made me smile! :) Mishaps are inevitable when you own a car, but most of them turn into interesting stories after some time. I’m also touched that you donated the car to Rawhide Boys Ranch. That’s the perfect way to retire that mighty beast.

    Maria Wegner


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