Saturday, May 14, 2011

I just ate Dust ! you have Floss?

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.



  1. Todd,

    The Kirk Cameron hairstyle says it all... love it!


  2. Ah, the car-truck. Ain't nothing quite like it.
    In AUS, they call them Utes. And sex is called rooting. I'm telling you this because the best bumper sticker I've ever seen was this:
    Have a root in a ute; it's a beaut.


  3. I have to say I had a crush on Kirk Cameron all those years ago. You don't look like you sport his 'do' any more, lol.

    Your Gran sounds awesome (and brave!) and quite the bird. You could have done much worse than be taught to drive by someone like her.

    I had a friend in Germany who used to drive the Autobahns as fast as his car would go (255km per hour) - scary shit x

  4. Oh my goodness--this brings me to tears and chuckles simultaneously! You describe Grandma perfectly!! I LOVED it when she gave us "driving lessons". Do you remember when she would sit at the table and smoke her cigarette and play cards? I especially remember the summer she was on the "Slim Fast" diet, but instead of mixing up the shake mix with water, she would throw in a few dollups of icecream instead :) She was such a spunky stinker!!!

  5. great post - probably my favorite of yours so far. I never drove an el camino but always wanted one in great condition - I learned to drive in a 1970 Cadillac sedan de ville - twenty feet long, seven feet wide and the largest engine ever put into a street legal production car. I still miss that car.
    having the ability to go 140 means basically that you can get to highway speeds faster and more reliably. You don't want a car with a top end of 100 when you need to drive 75 on 90 or 355 - the rpms will get too high and you will burn the engine out - trust me though - you will never get your buick to 140 even if you try.