My Daddy and Uncle went away for a few days. Far away. I think they went to Ontario. I’m not certain of that but I think that’s where my Mama said they went. When they came back Daddy was driving this beautiful blue car. He said it was a Buick.
We’d never had a car before. There is a button that you push to start it after you push on the gas pedal….and you need to know which pedal is for gas because there are three: one for gas, one for the brake and one for the clutch. There is another button on the floor to dim or brighten the headlights. The dash is filled with gleaming chrome, and on the inside of the woodgrain steering wheel is another made of chrome. That is what you push to honk the horn.
It’s the fanciest car I’ve seen, with it’s velour like seats and in the back, hanging from the back of the front seat is a golden rope. It lets passengers in the back hang on if you go over bumps and such.
There are cranks for all the windows, except for the two small windows in the front that remind me of butterfly wings. They have little latches that you slide open and then you can push the window open.
The car stays parked most days but on Sunday, after church and Sunday school, we all pile into that car and get to go for a drive. Daddy drives of course, because he’s the only one that knows how. Mama sits across from him in the front seat. My sisters and I crawl in the backseat, hoisting ourselves along with the golden rope.
That car makes it far easier to get to Nannie’s camp, or Sunday school picnics and such. As we drive around our small island, passings friends and neighbours Daddy would honk the horn and wave, causing giggles of delight from the three of us in back. We would often sing on those outings following Daddy’s lead while we watched the gentle swaying of the golden rope on the back of the front seat.
Then there is always the last part of our drive. It is always the same, every single Sunday, sort of like the part where you finally get to open your birthday gift. Our drive aways ends with a trip to Western Light where we turn around and head home. Not far from the ‘new’ cemetery is a bump in the road. It isn’t huge, but it must be just the way it sat on that old dirt road that made it special. We call it Thrill Hill, and just before we get to it, Daddy grins and shouts over his shoulder, “Okay girls, hang on!” and he depresses the gas pedal.
We grab that golden rope and hang on for dear life, butterflies flitting around our tummies as we, eyes growing ever wider, begin giggling and laughing, working our way to a full crescendo of shrieks and hiccups. Three little girls in the backseat of an old Buick, made giddy with glee by a small bump in an old gravel road and a Daddy that took great joy in our happiness.
I awake. I can feel the smile on my face even before my eyelids flutter open. Another memory comes pushing to the front of my consciousness. I recall once pushing that starter button so many times I bounced my sister and I right into the middle of the roses bushes! There were many cars after that, and while I remember each one, none ever compared with that old blue Buick. Given the shape of it, I’m fairly certain it was a 1940’s model and probably that push button was a vacuum operated starter, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters are the memories, of happy times when little things delighted three small girls and times were simpler, and full of laughter and love. Lots of love.