I thought my dad was nuts when he allowed me at only 14 years old to buy a 1947 Chevy out of a junk yard for $30. Never mind that it had no motor or transmission, I was going to be on the road in 2 months. Dad knew that I would be 3 years getting that car together and would get the equivalent of a two-year technical degree in the process.
Fast-forward 50 years. I bought a 1947 Cadillac with a goal to have it restored in 6 months and to drive it to Tennessee (2000 mile round trip) to visit my Mom, 85, and to show my beauty in the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Car Show.
My restoration goal of 6 months became 17 months and Miss Daisy went over budget by an embarrassing amount,
but we made it without incident to Humboldt, Tennessee. My first cousin, Norman Cagle, flew down to Austin from Michigan to ride shotgun. Norman knows cars and was checking the liquids at every stop. We carried extra parts, tools, scissor jack, stands….and yet, needed none of the above! Miss Daisy purred like a kitten at 60 mph and 10 mpg without even the slightest hiccup. In the two-day trip, I spent more time in the slow lane and was passed by more cars than I had experienced in my 50 years of driving.
I also got more thumbs up and had more fun basking in the limelight of Miss Daisy than on any other car trip. The question often asked at the gas stops was, “How long have you owned this car?” To Norm’s amazement, I would explain that my grand father had bought this car new after coming back from the war, passing it to my dad who drove it until his death in 1990. Further, my son cannot wait for me to croak!” All of this is a big lie of course but how interesting would it be if I told them the truth? Neither of my grandfathers made enough money in their lifetimes to afford a car of any kind and neither ever drove much less ever owned a car. The main event was having my mother don long white gloves and a big hat, have her sit in the huge couch-like backseat and drive Miss Daisy to the small town’s epicenter of cultural and social interchange……the local McDonalds to meet her friends as she does each week day!
Nathan Gibson Author of “The System” and also “Motorcycle Safety and Humorous Short Stories”
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