Thursday, August 28, 2014
My '64 Chevy
When I turned 16, my mom and dad bought me a '64 Chevy. A standard. I'd only driven a standard one other time in my life. When I was 15, I'd gone to visit my cousin, Pat. She lived in a small town and her mom gave me the keys to her standard and told us to go get the mail at the post office. She showed me the gears and sent us on our way. Pat & I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't going to be able to keep the car going if I stopped completely. So I slowed down as much as I could and Pat jumped out at the corner and I circled back around to pick her up. The problem was, I had to stop when I came back around to wait on her. When she came out, I was stopped at an incline. I worked for probably 10 minutes trying to get the clutch and gas going just right to make it up that hill. Little did we know that a group of high school boys were across the street watching the whole thing! When I finally made it up that hill, they began hooting and hollering and cheering for me--while Pat ducked down in her seat. She had to live there after all. So I didn't have a good track record with a standard.
But dad gave me the keys and told me and my girlfriends who were there for my birthday to go out and learn how to drive it---on my own! Dad did show me the gears--an "H" shaped gear shift on the steering column. My friends and I went out on the back roads of Pampa and hopped all over the place. I may have ground the gears a few times, too. I'd already gotten my drivers license that day, so I went to bed feeling pretty proud of myself---a license and a blue car on my 16th birthday!
The next week, I was taking my car to school and was on my way home. I had to stop at a stop light on the main street of town...next to a policeman. I knew I was in trouble! I began praying, "Please God...let me get this clutch thing right!! Don't let me embarrass myself in front of this policeman!" But I did the old hip-hop thing...bounced 3 or 4 times...BIG bounces...right in front of the policeman. I wondered if they gave tickets for that kind of thing. I just didn't know. I finally got my car going and glanced over at the policeman. He had his head back doing a belly laugh. At least I didn't get a ticket.
I loved that '64 Chevy.