Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: He was the best dog on the planet.

Bonding

Bonding
The author of Mark's Work with Ellie Mae

Guess who's coming for dinner

Guess who's coming for dinner
Blue heron, sitting on the dock of our pond

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

BFF's forever

BFF's forever
Margie and Ellie Mae

Tomatoes and peppers are us.

Tomatoes and peppers are us.
Spicy salsa with roasted peppers, here at HappyDay Farms

Much love, John-Bryan

Much love, John-Bryan
Eric at 26 on the left, and John-Bryan in January of 1973.

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
SmallBoy and Dancing Girl

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Rambler

The Rambler

Growing up there were three major automakers, Chevy, Ford and Chrysler, from which I could easily have found something that Papa might have chosen, when he finally decided that he needed to invest in a family vehicle, somewhere around 1964. 

The old Plymouth needed a quart of oil every time we went somewhere, and the ’56 Ford Sedan was nowhere big enough to accommodate both the family and a picnic lunch, when we would visit Noel at Dominguez. No, the time had come to get a new car.

In family discussions around the dinner table, I openly lobbied for a van, of any make, because I envisioned the seat being removed, so that we could sprawl out in the back, and more comfortably read. Color was of little interest, but style was crucial.

“Get something really hairy, Papa!” I urged, using an adjective that I knew would prolong the conversation.

“Hairy…” was all he said, while giving me the quizzical, twinkly eye look.

“Yeah! You know, out-a-sight, cool, hip, with-it, hairy!” as though no other discussion were needed. Had I thought to mention it, I might have added, “Anything but a Rambler, Papa,” but who would ever have thought that that was necessary?

When the big day finally arrived, and he sallied forth to make the big purchase, JT and I waited around, keeping our fingers crossed. Somehow, some way, we knew he would never let us down, so when that white ’64 Rambler station wagon pulled into the driveway, I felt as though I had been sucker-punched.
Shivers down my backbone...
A Rambler? A Rambler station wagon? Could you possibly be serious, Papa? To myself, I said this, but never aloud. That simply wasn’t allowed. When Papa was happy, everyone was happy, so I for one, was not about to rock any boats.

Seriously, though, a Rambler?

Even at that, I had no idea what was about to befall me, because Papa had a plan, and I was at the center of it. His plan was that his new acquisition was going to remain pristine, with me being the one to do the maintaining. 

Now his plan became much clearer: He’d bought this late-model (!) vehicle in excellent shape, he meant to maintain its market value, and then, somewhere down the line, he could buy what he really wanted. What that was, I did not speculate about; I was too busy doing damage control.

The first Sunday after he brought the vile vehicle home, he took me out and outlined his plan. I would get the vacuum cleaner, vacuum the car out, wash it, chamois it dry, and then come in to collect my reward: $.025, which Papa obviously thought was a king’s ransom. Don't forget, this is the same guy who used to pay a kid my age, Brian, the same quarter for a whole day’s work.

It’s not that he was mean, or petty, but simply, that was the way his world operated. Kids worked because they were members of the household, and if there was something for a bonus, then more’s the better.

I was crushed, pure and simple. Not only did I hate this old-fashioned car, I had to wash it too? Ramblers were for old people. My grandpa drove a mid-fifties Rambler sedan, and I loved it, because when I was in it, I was with Grandpa. I loved the smell of the interior and I loved the fact that he played the radio when we went places.
Perfection

There was nothing of redeeming value about the Rambler. I endured and collected my weekly quarter, until I finally started working Sundays at Sunrize, and thereby got off the hook.

Imagine my shock, after I had entered the army, and was away from home, to find he had bought a red and white 4WD Chevy Blazer, which he then proceeded to drive down to La Paz, at the southernmost tip of Baja, California.

Timing. You know?



3 comments:

  1. Oh, I DO remember that day -- that Rambler puling in the driveway? Such disappointment! Such disgust! And I remember all the washing that went into that buggy.
    So at some point he traded that in for the 3/4 ton Chevy pickup? Right? Green. And you remember that the first time I took my driving test I drew the nova (stick shift) and was called out on my shifting skills (though they were fine - the guy was just mean to a nervous kid). Papa's remedy? Here, drive the pick up! His PRECIOUS pickup! But it was an automatic and he knew they couldn't call me out on that. He took me out on some practice drives and two weeks later I took the test in that and passed with 100%! The price I gladly paid? I drove that truck down to the do it yourself car wash every Sunday until either he sold it or I moved out (dont remember which came first...).

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    1. Of course, I remember that truck because he used to drop me off at the corner, a few long blocks down from Bishop Amat. He loved that truck an ALWAYS regretted parting ways for it. We sure were disgusted; that was a good word...xoxo

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    2. That's right! My sophomore year we went to school with him very early. I preferred that to riding with the Hennesseys - they were nice enough but it always felt like an imposition .... riding with Papa meant we got there very early. I always liked that. Beats being afraid of being late.

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