May 09, 2012 - So, it was this past Friday, I found myself tooling around town, from Clarkston to Oxford, downtown Orion, back to Clarkston and up to Ortonville and finally Goodrich, when I noticed something. I moved my eyebrows up in my ever-expanding forehead and it felt a little tight. I peeked into the rearview mirror and, dang.
I had a sunburn.
I am gonna have to buy a little tube of sunblock for traveling.
It has been years since I've had a vehicle which lets the elements – sunshine and wind – into the driver's compartment. I've missed that. And, while current Rushmobile merely sports a moonroof (which is not as good as no roof), it is better than not having a moonroof (or sunroof, whatever that is).
This whole line of thought got me waxing fondly about all the cars I've loved before. Those wonderful summer days (fall days, and sometimes relatively warm, sunny winter days) with the top down, wind in my hair.
Just for the heck of it, on summer days, (top down) I would take as many side roads as I could and just head north from Oakland County into Lapeer. Just to drive. Dusk was the best. Like my father before I'm a ragtop man, and unlike what it cost to fuel cars these days, at something under a buck a gallon, I was all in.
The only thing better than a convertible is a four-wheeled drive convertible like a Jeep.
In my stream-of-conscious way of sorting thoughts and communicating those thoughts, my information processing veered down another synapses.
"Let's see. My first car wasn't mine, but Mom and Dad's – 1972 pumpkin orange Vega Kammback with the torpedo whole in the driver's side fender," I thought.
The list of vehicles I considered mine, followed: faded blue 1974 C-10 pickup truck, with a straight six, three on the tree (which I put on the floor) and a front seat of a 1968 GMC pickup truck (which meant the seat just sat in there and wiggled around with every turn and quick stop); the red 1967 Cutlass Supreme convertible, with a 442 Rocket engine dropped in for fun, four barrels, and dual exhaust used to fit about a dozen people.
When the Cutlass crapped out I downgraded to a low-ended, high-miled mustard yellow 1977 Chrysler Cordoba (no rich Corinthian leather interior, either); then my first bank loan purchased a shiny black 1983 Dodge 600 convertible, complete with red pinstripes and red leather interior which I drove into the ground.
The Dodge was followed successively by new red, Pontiac Sunbirds (1988 and 1992); a beautiful black 1994 Jeep Wrangler (the last year before Chrysler "chicked-them-out" and made the interiors nice, rather than Spartan-like. When kids came into my life the Jeep was family like, so the new ride was a 1998 Saturn station wagon (teal-colored – don't ask).
The 1999 Racing Sonoma pickup lasted for seven years until 2011. Today's ride is a 2008 Ford Escape (with the afore mentioned moonroof).
After the list unfolded inside my mind, another thought, a memory of a comment actually came into focus. "Why do men remember all their cars," asked an obviously non-male gendered person.
Why do we of the broad shoulders and strong backs remember our vehicles when we easily forget to pickup our discarded and dirty socks off the floor?
What is the answer – how can this be?
I, for what it's worth, think it's pretty simple: cars are far more interesting than socks. Two words, "selective memory."
Let me know what you think. Email me, Don@ShermanPublications.org with your thoughts, and please remind me to buy some sunblock for the road, because as a man I will forget.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org