Now don't get me wrong from yesterday's post. I loved my first car: a 1978 Pontiac Ventura.
I bought it with 145,000 miles on it, which today is nothing but back in 1984 that was something. They were highway miles, I was told. Turns out all miles are the same.
Yet it was mine and came with a couple of amenities I had never seen in my parents' cars, like a cruise control and -- this is more significant -- an AM/FM cassette deck.
My dad helped me buy the car so I could get back and forth to work at McDonald's on the other side of town. That was Chippewa Falls, meaning my commute would go from a 15-minute bike ride to a five-minute drive.
Within a couple of months, my dad died of a massive heart attack. I even used the car to drive from McDonald's to the schools of my brothers to pick them up at the behest of the hospital chaplain.
Wandering around the world in shock for the next couple of years, the only constants were my job at McDonald's, my car and copious amounts of Leinenkugel's beer. "Copious" is the wrong word. I drank a Gitche Gummi amount of beer.
I didn't trick out the car as I am either an ascetic or just plain lazy. Then some bastard stole the radio, which ended my career as a car-singing diva. I piled on the miles and broke down on occasion. And I went on dates, a big step for someone who only recently had considered the monastery. (That's another post entirely.)
Here I will write something controversial: Whoever invented the bucket seat killed more budding romances than any Baptist preacher.
The bench seat was beautiful for getting to know someone in a closer sense. Sure, on occasion you'd have to turn the car on and heat it up again, sometimes interrupting well-laid plans. But I think the bench seat is attributable to more marriages than anything else.
Speaking of cold, one day during a minus-40 degree cold spell, I sat down in the car at 4:45 a.m. -- I worked breakfast shifts -- and the left rear coil snapped in the cold. Suddenly, I was sitting about 6 inches lower than normal.
But the car still moved even though every meagre pothole would rattle my kidneys.
Sure enough during the next deadly cold snap, the other rear coil snapped -- and I looked like I was driving around town in a permanent lower rider.
The upside? I once had to work a McDonald's shift where we received 24 inches of snow. And because the entire rear weight of the car was ride on the axle, I made home -- up on the West Hill -- safely.
That car went on to have two more owners, the last of whom took a buzz saw to the roof because he always wanted a convertible. Cool idea, until he realized he delivered pizza in the ice and snow of Northern Wisconsin. No matter how tightly he jury-rigged the blue tarpaulin, it collapsed on him.
Please share your first car story in the comments section.
Peace and great car stories on to you my brothers and sisters.