Ancient History

I put the suitcase I borrowed from
my mother in the trunk and got in
the car.

My father drove and smoked. And
smoked some more. He is usually
lecturing nonstop by now. I cracked

the window open to get some air
then closed it again. His visible
nervousness made me even more

nervous. He started talking. After
each cigarette, he’d open the window
just enough to flick it outside then

close the window without interrupting
his monologue. He never wanted to
hear anything I had to say, so I

listened to his World War II Army
stories again about his basic training
in Burlington. No post there now.

Ancient history.

I think he was trying to give me advice.
He pulled up to the front of the AFEES
building in Newark. As I got the small

vinyl suitcase out of the trunk he asked
me to please write. We sort of hugged.
I started up the steps as he drove off.

Seems like just the other day. That trip
to Newark ended with a late-night bus
ride to Ft. Dix for basic training.

It was fifty-five years ago yesterday that
I enlisted in the Army. Thank you, my God,
for your protection and care. You are my

refuge and strength. You alone are God.
The rest is ancient history.

Saturday Memories

I can’t recall but I think I’m suffering
from this grand delusion that Saturdays
used to be special.

That wasn’t the case today. Saturday
was noisy. It came with a din of its own.
I’ve never enjoyed hearing other people’s

loud music as they fly by in a truck (I’d
never choose to drive or own). I’ve never
been a truck person. If I stick with cars

you would think I’ve been driving in
circles my whole life. My first new car was
after I came home from Vietnam in 1968.

It was a navy blue VW Beetle with a gray
interior. So, it seems cars in my life have a
story of their own that is part of my story.

I’ll blame the gas wars. While at Ft. Dix in
1973 I tried so hard to fit in, I bought a
gold Ford LTD. It was a boat! Everyone liked

it except me. The yellow MG B wasn’t really
me either. Then came married life on low
Army pay. A yellow Chevy Chevette went to

Germany and back. Drove it for ten years.
The years went by as quickly as the cars! The
car that I really thought was me was my navy

blue Jeep Liberty. It was a lemon. You wouldn’t
know that to look at it. The outside was so
beautiful! Engine, parts, wheels, bearings, rods,

you name it. It failed again and again. It was a
mess on the inside. Hold on, hold on. Am I
telling you about my life or my cars?

I replaced the engine and sold it either with or
for peanuts. And I had to get a car. I lived in NW
Phoenix. The firm that hired me was in Chandler.

I had to commute one hundred miles a day. I
must have been thinking of my dad. He loved his
two-tone 1956 Chrysler New Yorker. I bought a

used silver four cylinder Chrysler 200 for this crazy
commute. I put on 40,000 miles in no time. Work
came to a halt. My life came to a halt. Divorce.

Sold the house. Bought a bright orange 2018 VW
Beetle. I’ve come full circle. I’m back where I started
if we are talking about cars. Arizona is a slide show

of memories that I see in my rear view mirror once in a
while. The Bug is cool. Yikes! It might be my last car. I
wonder about that every time I see a Chrysler 300.

It has got to be a V8.

Radio is singing in her bath. Music is loud. She knows
all lyrics. All. All the old Saturdays are gone. They visit.
But they are gone. I’m wrong. Every day is a gift.

Bits and pieces of our lives are tied to our cars. We
remember our cars and our cars remember us. If a car
could talk! I didn’t tell you about every car of mine.

Why would I do that? Just a few Saturday memories.