It’s Throwback Thursday, something I have never participated in – until now. But I was feeling kind of bad about letting this blog languish with nothing but my horrible haikus to entertain my few faithful readers, so I thought I should put something up today. I found this piece that I wrote exactly 3 years and 1 day ago for the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices (if anyone remembers that). Enjoy!
Good gas mileage, expensive options, and a sleek exterior aren’t always what make a car great. For those of us who bought our first cars during our dramatic teenage years, the memories that we made with those cars can be far more important.
The crude cardboard sign in the windshield advertised a low, low price of $700 for the powder-blue, 1986 Ford Taurus that was destined to become the best car I ever owned. It was rusty and had high mileage, but it was big enough to carry six passengers, if they didn’t mind sitting on laps. And what matters more to a high school junior than being able to ferry her closest friends all around town? In that car, we left school grounds at lunch time to go eat at the local pizzeria, spent beautiful late spring days in the park rather than in math class, and traversed all of Western New York connecting with new friends at BBS get-togethers.
My most memorable road trip with that car was to Gettysburg College. Armed only with a 200-disc capacity CD wallet and a mountain of junk food, my friend Jessie and I headed down route 15. Unfortunately, the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania proved unbearable for my rust bucket, and somewhere south of Williamsport, the transmission died. The owner of a local garage offered to either fix the car for me or dispose of it and help us get bus tickets back to Buffalo. The decision was easy. Never mind that the repair cost more than the whole car itself; the sentimental value was priceless.
During my second year of college, I landed a waitressing job in a local restaurant that had a full service bar. The inebriated patrons tipped generously, and soon I thought I was well on my way to joining the ranks of the Rockefellers. That was when I became too cool for the battered old Taurus, so I tossed it aside for some flashier wheels. But somewhere in the back of mind, my love for that first car lingered.
Later in life, I married a man who, at 28 years old, had never driven a day in his life. I risked life, limb, and marital bliss teaching him how to drive. When he finally obtained his license, we went shopping for his first car and we looked at a powder-blue Ford Taurus. Even at the height of the age when owning a Ford Taurus would have been a symbol to the world that we were terminally unhip, I was a little disappointed when that wasn’t the car he selected.
But it isn’t too late; my youngest sister turns 16 this August and will be getting her driver’s license. Perhaps I’ll buy her a $700 Ford Taurus as a birthday gift. If I do, I am certain it will become the best vehicle she will ever own.
Update: No, I did not buy her a car. She’s turning 19 in a few months but she doesn’t even have a driver’s license yet. Inconceivable! What is wrong with these kids today??