When I was a little girl, my daddy surprised my mother with a brand new car for her 30th birthday. It was a bright red, 1956 Chevy convertible!
I remember well going to Red River Motors in Bossier City, Louisiana with my dad to pick it out. I remember sitting upfront, on the passenger seat, while my dad turned the steering wheel back and forth and "pretended" to drive it fast.
I remember perching myself above the back seat when the vinyl top was down. I remember feeling special up there. So special that I practiced waving like a beauty queen while my dad talked to the salesman, completed the paperwork and handed him a check.
I remember too my dad telling me that afternoon, "Beverly, one of these days this car will be yours!"
For more than a decade, my dad and mother kept that Chevy in mint condition. They were always saying, "We have to keep this baby for Beverly."
When the time came, my dad taught me how to drive - in that car.
Daddy was a good instructor. He was uncommonly patient with me as I attempted to master the needed skills.
Once I was driving and the Chevy was officially mine, my dad stressed a favorite belief of his: With privileges comes responsibility.
Thus, I remember well all the Saturday mornings I spent in our driveway washing that car. And, running the vacuum throughout its interior. And, when my dad thought I should, applying and removing polish from the car's exterior.
I never minded. I loved driving that car, doing so always brought me an unusual amount of attention. Especially from the boys in my classes at Bossier High.
I mentioned this to my dad one night. I suggested I must "look awfully good in that car to be getting so much attention,"
He laughed a bit, but then shattered my delusions.
He said, "Bev, you do look good in that car, but I don't think that's the only reason the boys are gawking. Most likely, it's the roar of the Chevy's 350 hp engine they like so much."
My dad had a talent for keeping it real.
Alas, I remember that too.