Posted by on Feb 6, 2012 in Photographs, Sacred Artifacts | 0 comments

I heard her whisper as I turned the corner.  “I can see it in your eyes.  You want me to take you for a ride.”  And there she stood . . . my first love.  Oh so many years older, but still sleek and lookin’ fine.  It took me back to that first time.

I was just eighteen when I first saw her at a distance. April 17th, 1964.  Dressed in powder blue with her white top down just to give me a thrill.   I figured right then, I’d never be able to hold her, to feel her power beneath me, but I was wrong.  My friends called her the regular man’s corvette.  She featured a base 170-cubic inch six-cylinder engine with a three-speed floor shift transmission.

My neighbor bought one.  I was so jealous.  But when he unexpectedly died, his widow moved back home and sold me the car for a third of the cost. The first thing I did was place a new 1964 penny face up in the spare tire well, an old family tradition of ensuring luck with the new car.

When I drove it away, a transformation took place.  Suddenly, I was handsome, debonair and the next three summers were spent on dates and cruising in a convertible.

But then . . . came Vietnam and I said goodbye.  She needed someone who could take care of her.  Who knew if I would return?

College beckoned when I returned.  A job . . . a family, a lifetime joyfully lived.  The years and miles rolled past me like phantoms in the night, but I never forgot her . . . my first love.

And there she was . . . at the car show, maybe not “my” mustang, but one that looked just like her.  My wife who knew nothing of my first love sat me down.  Thought I was having a heart attack.  She gave me the oddest look when I told her about my car and how I’d felt driving it when I was young.  She encouraged me to go see her, but I couldn’t.  The memories were still too fresh, too painful in our parting.  We left the show with me looking over my shoulder.

I woke up early the next day and there in my driveway she stood.  My mustang. Well maybe not THE mustang, but it was MY mustang.  I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but my wife made a miracle happen overnight.

Keys jingled behind me as I stood staring at the beauty sitting in my driveway.  “Well, handsome . . . want to take me for a ride?” she said. Before my wife and I drove away, I looked in the tire well.  No penny. That would have been too good to be true, but my wife had one more surprise. She handed me a brand-new, shiny penny.  The love of my life made my dreams come true.

~J.K. Ingersoll~

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