I learned to drive on a 1976 El Camino. It was big, blue and bossy. The El Camino is 1 part car and 1 part truck. This particular Camino had a massive engine, if I knew anything about mechanics I could throw out words like big block, hemi, straight 8, 450 ponies. Sadly I don't have these chops. Aaron asked me to check the oil level last week, first time I touched a dip stick in years. Whoa honey!
I was either a teen or a tween in the summer months staying w/ my grandparents in Navarre just outside Pensacola. My grandmother jean nonchalantly tossed me the Camino keys and instructed me to take the red dirt road. She lived in Florida where red dirt is everywhere, such a pretty color for dirt. Up here in the Midwest we are stuck with the brown variety, typical dirt color. I have no idea where grandmother got the idea to let a pubescent boy w/ a Kirk Cameron hairstyle behind the wheel of this car/truck but I was thrilled. I took the lesson very seriously and was careful not to alarm her; she was a willful women, strong and full of vigor. We traveled slowly on the red dirt road, stopping occasionally to pick up trash. It was a wonderful afternoon and a permanent memory for me to hold onto.
At this point of her life she was a non smoker but going back to when I was even younger I remember her leading us through a cave tour or maybe it was a fort, but I remember going through a dark tunnel. She offered us security by telling us to follow the red glow of her cigarette. I thought that was such a clever solution. She was a cool lady. During her life she drove a camero, a 1979 silver Honda civic, a couple of Buicks & a Cadillac. She was the mother of 4 boys. Her driving skills through the Ozark mountains could leave most in the dust. She was Beautiful.
Btw. This whole thought process began while I was driving our Buick and I looked down at the speedometer. Out Buick lists 140 mph as the top speed. 140 MPH! What? I could probably count on one hand the times I've traveled above 100 mph in a car. Why do we build cars that go 140 mph? That's like giving someone a pot of gold but telling them to store it in the attic and never to touch. Sure you feel pretty good that you have a pot of gold, some street cred I guess, but where's the fun if you can't use it. Doesn't make sense to me. My grandma Jean would scold me for this comment, she is the original Hot Shot Driver.