This week's Fun Monday host is Molly, Molly, Miss Molly. She wants to hear about a happy childhood memory. This time of year my mind drifts to vacations and the time my brothers and I spent on the road seeing the countryside. This is a post I published last year, but since no one was reading my blog at the time, and since it seemed to fit today's challenge, I'm posting it again. I suspect many of you have had similar vacations.
Years ago, Chevy asked us to see the USA in a Chevrolet. I did. Well, at least a little corner of it. Around ’78 or ’79 Baby Ruth and Zeek bought a Chevy Chevette. It was one of those small compact cars built more for energy efficiency than for comfort. Since Zeek is as tight as the bark on a tree (love you daddy), I’m sure the choice had more to do with the cost of the car than his concern over the energy crisis. That little Chevette could barely hold three kids and two adults. A trip to the IGA required Baby Ruth to mediate several rounds of “he’s on my side” and “she’s touching me”. Our first line of defense was to offer up Handy Man baby brother as the recipient of the token swat from mom’s left arm around the seat. Poor guy. We were always pushing him into the line of fire. If that didn’t work, Baby Ruth usually ended up drawing imaginary lines on the seat with the threat of pulling over and spanking any border jumpers. If she was in a particularly generous mood, she just threatened not to buy us bottles of Crush from the grocery store vending machine. (It was still a glass bottle back then.)
We didn’t let the size of our car squash our desire for summer vacation. We packed it full of luggage and hit the open road. We drove 350 miles to the Smoky Mountains and back in that Chevette. The hatchback was so full of luggage and bologna that Zeek couldn’t see out of the rearview mirror, and spent the whole trip hanging his head out the window hollering, “Is it clear?”, when backing up. Those little four cylinders chugged us up and down the mountains for a week, moving us from pancake house to pancake house. I remember having to turn off the air conditioner while going up the mountains, so the car wouldn’t die. Looking back, it seems we must have been pretty optimistic folks to assume we could travel that far with so little power and even less room and still have a good time. We did, though.
I had lots of good times in that car. I inherited the Chevette a few years later when I got my driver’s license. I circled the Sonic drive-in more times than Britney Spears has shown her belly button. How many teenaged girls does a Chevette hold? Six, if they’re skinny and somebody sits on the hump. I even took that car to college. I didn’t replace it until I had graduated from college and been on my own for about a year. When I finally traded it in, I skidded into the dealership on two break pads, four bald tires and a bad alternator. The dealer gave me $500 on the trade-in, and I felt lucky to get it. He immediately hauled it off to the salvage yard. I had literally run the wheels off that car.
I can’t say I miss squeezing into the Chevette, but it does bring back good memories. The ironic thing is that I now drive a van that seats seven people but usually carries only three. However, just to show that some things never change, whenever Mama J. and Papa T. ride with us, we argue over the seats. Orange Crush anyone?
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