Tao of the Beater

She will never feel the back of her thighs sizzle on a black vinyl bench seat of a ’68 Suburban station wagon as it sits in the sun on any typical day in July.

She will never know the reassuring churn of a 1970 Plymouth Fury III at 7am on a January Tuesday while it flattens 12 inches of Michigan snow like a Clydesdale in a beer commercial.pinto

She will never sit three abreast in a Chevy pickup, sandwiched so closely between two farm boys that the hair on their arms tickles her legs as one shifts gears and the other slams an Eagles tape into the 8-track.

She will never see asphalt whizzing by under her feet through a hole the size of a football in the floor of her boyfriend’s green Pinto, the one he can’t give up because of the radio that pulls in Canada even during the day.

She will never wait two days in a tiny mountain town for spark plug wires for a Fiat.

She will never flirt with the California Highway Patrol guy when her white Ford EXP blows the head gasket while turning onto the busiest entrance ramp to the busiest highway in America at the busiest time of day.

And she will never know what she is missing, this daughter of mine who drives a reliable Toyota and dreams of a brand new Volkswagon convertible, butter yellow with a tan top. 

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13 Responses to Tao of the Beater

  1. I absolutely love this. Your memories are mine.

  2. claywatkins says:

    Our kids will never know! I drove a ’69 VW bug and the floorboards under the back seat battery had rusted through…. AC was tilting the side mirrors inward and driving fast. We’d pile six kids in the thing and take off. I am so lucky I lived to tell about it – I did some really stupid things in that car. Thanks for bringing back some memories I’d forgotten!

  3. jeanne yarbrough says:

    Good memories! Wonderful description that conjures up my youth as well.

  4. Anonymous says:

    or repairing an exhaust pipe with a tin can and two U-clamps. Or lying in the snow in a junk yard to torch a used sway bar off an old Chevy pickup. or driving 45 miles per hour across the country to save on gas. or hitchhiking across the country six times to really save on gas. or pouring whiskey through that hole in the floorboards as the State Patrol pulls her over. or sleeping in the back seat at an all night bar in Acapulco. wait, she MIGHT do that.

  5. Those were the days! Thanks for sharing them.

  6. Kris says:

    So funny, I love this. I drove a silver Datsun B210. The horn would voluntarily blow only when I made a left hand turn. Pedestrians loved me!

  7. michel says:

    This was wonderful to read…it took me down memory lane in my old “beaters”.

  8. Tammi Kale says:

    I love this!!! Great posts!

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