Rear-ending a Camaro on a major highway was not something I could hide. Let’s re-visit that adventure now.
That fiasco promised to cost my dad a lot of money in insurance rates alone, even if he had left Bessie for dead. I had heard of parents yanking their kids’ driving privileges after incidents like that.
I lucked out. Dad had seen I was shaken, and neither yelled nor got visibly upset. After making sure I was not hurt, he drove us home. Later that night, he had me “get back on the horse,” when he sent me to town in his truck to get some groceries. I did not want to drive anywhere yet, but I didn’t tell him that. No way.
Most people would have left Bessie for the auto salvage dealers, but something sentimental inside my father seemed to want to save her. Maybe because she had been his father’s last car, or that it still would have cost more and been riskier to buy a used car with an unknown history. Whatever the reason, he had paid to have her repaired.
While Bessie sat for about two months in the body shop’s “left for dead” lot, I drove my dad’s old beater Chevy Suburban. Good times.
I only backed the blue-green tank into McDonald’s once, when I relied on someone sitting in the back to tell me if I still had room. No damage on that one. Another time, I gave it a nice dent and battle scar down the passenger’s side when I mistakenly thought I was clear of a small tree backing down a friend’s wooded driveway. Dad tried to pull that dent out with a toilet plunger.
That Suburban thing was just too long, but man did those glass packs make it sound cool. It had a V8 running on at least six of the cylinders, and I could haul a lot of my friends around in it.
At least twice a week I checked on Bessie, and took a few friends over there to see her. Although she looked awful, I knew that had she been a newer car, designed to collapse in a crash to protect the driver, she would have looked much worse. I saw a good friend’s car sitting wrecked at a towing center, and it was so badly damaged that I was sure he must have been seriously hurt. I called him the moment I got home, and he was fine. He had run a stop sign and plowed into an older car. The driver was okay.
When they finally fixed Bessie, it was with mixed emotions that I took her back. They had replaced pretty much the entire front end, as far as I could tell. It was nice to see her with a brand new hood. No more paw print remnant. Although she couldn’t match the power of the Suburban, she had her good points. I again could park almost anywhere, and could turn on a dime.
There was something else about her.
(continue to Part 6)