What was your first car? It’s a fun question to ask people and a question that’s been floating around here quite frequently. As Bryce nears the driving age, he’s giving much thought to a “new” set of wheels.
“How about this pickup?” he’ll ask me, pointing to the latest car catalog he’s plucked from the newsstand.
“Ever heard of a Vega?” I reply. “They came in the nicest orange, complete with a hatch back. Ours had a Mr. Magoo bumper sticker on the dash. I wonder if that car is still in the country?”
“Hey, Mom, check out this Mustang,” he says pointing to another page in what is starting to feel like an endless lineup of cars.
“How do you feel about the Chrysler Cordoba?” I reply. “They were last made when Ronald Reagan was president.”
“Corvette?” queries Bryce.
“No way, but what do you think of the old style Chevy Impalas? Your Dad had one in high school. He says you could fit 12 kids in it, but only pay for six at the drive in movie. The first six fit in the trunk.”
“What was your first car?” he says hoping for a snazzy pickup or a sporty car.
“It was a 1972 three-quarter ton Ford with a wooden flatbed and a snowplow mounted on the front,” I say. “Originally bright red, it had faded to somewhere between red and orange. A shovel handle shoved in the tank served in place of the broken gas gauge. As a teenager I typically chose to drive it until it ran out of gas and then call Grandpa’s ‘five gallons of gas in a can delivery service.’ I don’t recall a single occasion on which he found it amusing.”
“From there,” I tell Bryce, “I graduated up to a 1984 half ton GMC that was a two-wheel drive. Your Aunt Erin and I wrecked it into the neighbor’s hayfield about seven years before she was of legal age to drive. Bent frame and all, Papa and Gram saved that pickup, and it became your aunt’s first vehicle. It was safe to drive, barely cleared 45 miles per hour and only started on warm days. We might want to check with them. Knowing them they might have tucked that pickup away somewhere for you. They’re thoughtful that way.”
Funny thing, I haven’t had to look at a car catalog in weeks. I’m holding out for something special. I think that old 1972 Ford might still be in the country. And, Bryce could probably still get five gallons of gas from his grandpa’s “five gallons of gas in a can” delivery service.
Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at Womack@Wyoming.com or at 307-351-0730.