Favorite

Monkey wrenches 

click to enlarge antique-1868726_1920.jpg

Junior is 17 now, and shows no interest in driving, or even taking the driving test. It's got his Old Man a little concerned, and not just because we're running a car service for one these days.

When Yours Truly was a lad, the world so much smaller and the TV with only three fuzzy channels plus AETN, we were itching to drive. We got a learner's permit literally the first day we legally could, then returned for our driver's license the first day we could get that. By then, we'd long since owned a car — a pearl white 1963 Chevrolet we bought for two-hunnert bucks at a garage sale — and turned half the bolts on it.

Cars are in The Observer's blood. By 10 years old, we could name the make, model and year of nearly every car we saw on the streets, Ford Model-T Ford to brand new, reading the unique Detroit fingerprint of bumper and taillight. Our dear old Pa's car stories were campfire tales when The Observer was young: the big block powered Impala he owned when he was dating The Observer's Ma and lived in Memphis — the car he claimed could make the run between the Tennessee line and Little Rock in just over an hour, flying low in the dark like a chrome-trimmed missile. The similarly hot Ford Galaxy he bought for a song, beat all the windows out of with a pickaxe, then took stock-car racing at the Benton Speedbowl a time or three before he barrel rolled it over a fence and Ma told him no more. Pa's trips back and forth to California as a lad, in the backseat of whatever junker his wanderlusting father could scrounge up in College Station, every time his father swearing this would be it, California for good this time, but always boomeranging back six months later, the gravity of Arkansas as strong then as it is now for native sons and daughters.

The Observer has our own car stories, of course, and we have sung them to Junior since his birth: Hermann Boring, the vanilla 1965 VW beetle we drove to college; Stealth Bomber, the blue 1984 Mercury Cougar we piloted on our first date with his mother; Leroy Brown, the '74 Dodge pickup we rattled around in as our fondness for that pretty girl turned to love and then to surety that she was The One; AT-AT, the white Chevy Blazer dear old Pa bought for us as a wedding present as we prepared to ship out for grad school in the snowy wastes of Iowa; Granny, the green Crown Victoria that bore Junior home from the hospital in Lafayette, and which saved his dear ol' Dad's life just before Junior's second Christmas when a guy ran a stop sign and T-boned her, sending us spinning into traffic and a multicar pileup.

What with all those nuts and bolts floating around in our DNA, we don't know what to do with Junior's automotive apathy. By his age, we'd already rebuilt a half-dozen engines and owned three cars. It's a different world, we suppose, with different priorities. The kids these days are able to go anywhere on the planet with just a few clicks of the keyboard. To a lot of them, Junior included it seems, a car isn't about freedom or individuality or motorvatin' out past the city lights. It's just a conveyance, no more tied to their identity than a refrigerator with wheels. Doesn't compute for The Observer, who can still name the make and model of nearly every car we see on the street. But so much of raising a child, we've found, is coming to grips with the idea that the goal isn't to make a clone of yourself in appearance, thought and deed. Some people never get that. Still, The Observer does wish Junior would go ahead and get his driver's license. He doesn't have to love cars like his Old Man did, but we'd sure like a ride to the grocery store every once in a while.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • The Arkansas Traveler

    The Observer gets letters from folks, either directly or through the grapevine. Recently, somebody forwarded us one written by a former schoolteacher, writing to her granddaughter, who is a new student at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs.
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • The Grand Old Flag

    The Observer, like nearly everyone else with access to an internet connection, routinely sees our personal lighthouse battered by Hurricane Outrage, which — on a planet where billions of people struggle to find water and a crumb of daily bread — seems more like a tempest in a teapot inside a series of other, progressively larger teapots the longer we weather it.
    • Sep 1, 2016

Most Shared

  • Pot and politics

    The politics of medical marijuana in Arkansas will be an interesting story as it evolves.
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.

Latest in The Observer

  • On shitholes

    The Observer is at home today in our kitty cat socks, weathering a combination sick day and snow day. Way down in Stifft Station, we live at the top of a hill that slopes away in all directions. That's good in a flood, but piss poor other than for sledding during snow and ice, especially when you only have access to a two-wheel drive car.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • Giving up the ghost

    The Observer has waivered on religion throughout our life, from a good church-going lad in our younger years to where we are now, with our belief in hocus-pocus of all types shed at some point like the paper skin of an onion.
    • Jan 11, 2018
  • Baby driver

    Long after rookie pilots in The Observer's day went to test for a driver's license, Junior, 18, finally took the plunge over the Christmas break and got his permit.
    • Jan 4, 2018
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation