Vehicles and I have a long history. My Dad is an old car buff, and when I was growing up we used to go driving around looking for old cars. You know, those classics , the 40, 50, and 60's models. When cars were cool. Before they all looked the same. Mercury, Chevy, Packard, Ford, I loved them all. It turned into kind of a game with us. He'd ask "What model and make do you think that one is?" and I'd try to guess. I still love to look at vintage vehicles and see if I can do it, and most of the time I can.
But , I guess if I had to choose , the coolest vehicle I ever drove? It would have to be a 1963 model Ford Falcon. It's kind of a little truck/car thing . It's the coolest because it was what I learned to drive in.
I was maybe 11 or 12 years old, and was helping my Grandpa with his garden for the summer. That was how he made his living, he was a farmer. So he decided that so he didn't have to run to the store all the time and leave work, he'd teach me to drive. I was not so sure that this was a good idea.
But , he was insistent , so what could I say? First of all, you have to know, that my Grandpa was of the old school. You know, depression-era , self- reliant. And he called me P. Which was short for Pee-Wee. Because I was a little bitty , scrawny , sickly thing. So, anyhow, back to the summer-of -the -driving -lessons.
Here's how that conversation went………
Grandpa: Well, P. I believe it's time you learned to drive.
Grandpa: Yeah. So if I need you to , you can run up to the store.
Me: Oh. Ohhhkaaay.
Grandpa:Now it ain't no big deal. Here's what you do. Get in.
Grandpa: First , you gotta take your shoes off.
Grandpa: Your shoes. You gotta take em off. So as you can feel the pedals.
Me: What pedal? Grandpa, where IS the gas pedal?!?
Grandpa: Awww, the top of it done come off, you just push on that metal part stickin up there.
Me: Are you sure this is alright?
Grandpa: Oh, yeah, I been driving it that way for a while now.
Okay, push the clutch in now. That's the left one, then start her up, and I'll show you the rest as we go!
So, we took off, and it was definitely a fly by the seat of your pants learning experience. That old Falcon had no gas pedal, a hole in the floor board, no air conditioning and no seat belts. It smelled like my Grandpa's tobacco and tomato plants. It probably didn't go faster than 50 miles per hour, and was an old gray dull color. But when I was with Grandpa, on that dirt road, learning to drive, windows down, it really WAS the coolest vehicle ever. And it felt like I really COULD fly.