(c) Vickey Stamps
He didn’t need any parts for his car. He had one he kept maintained. It was paid for and took him wherever he wanted to go. It was inevitable that another car would catch his eye on the few times he came in to look the Auto junk-yard over. His dad had left it to him a couple years ago, but he had neither time nor interest in taking on an extra job. He’d kept on the guy that managed it. His own job kept him busy enough. He could have been less busy, but with his sweetheart passing away ten years ago, he’d welcomed some extra work to keep him busy.
It was a Saturday. He hadn’t felt like hanging around the house alone. Wesley was in University now and wouldn’t be home for the week-end. Mary Louise and her family had made plans. It was a nice day for the park, or the small lake, but the lot full of scrap automobiles seemed to call his name, and so he had answered the call.
She had been a beauty in her time, he’d thought, as he walked up to her, patting her hood and circling around her. He’d pulled out a handkerchief and drew it lovingly across the grimy headlights. It was an old one. Had it been that many years, since he and his sweetheart had spotted it in the new car lot? They had taken it for a test drive. It had run like a gem. They’d tried to figure out how to buy it, but times were tough, and figure as best they could, hadn’t been able to afford it.
Over the years, things had gotten better, but the car had long ago lost its place on the car lot. There had been other cars, nice ones, they’d bought over the years., but not being able to buy that first special car back then, had made him feel just a little like a failure. He’d wanted to buy it for them and been unable. Now here it was, almost deserted. He couldn’t bear it. The next thing he knew, he’d called a tow truck and had it taken to his home and garage. Now it sat there, up on tall blocks.
In the weeks ahead, he’d put the manager of the junk yard to finding the needed parts for the old car. He’d washed it and polished it, till it almost glowed. He felt young again. He’d decided to name her Marsha after his wife. He thought she’d have liked that. She’d always had such faith in him, always reassuring of whatever he thought he needed to do. She’d been special. She’d always be special.
Wesley spent time with him fixing it up. Mary Louise and the family came to look at it, and the grandkids always reminded ‘it sure was an old car….wasn’t it?’ He’d smiled and agreed with them. The day had come at last, to see what the old car had to offer. He had it taken off the blocks. He and a neighbor had pushed it out of the garage. He had poured a 5 gallon tin of gasoline into her. Only the best for you, old girl” He’d said. He’d primed the engine, re-checked the spark plugs, made sure she’d gotten a drink of water, and double-checked everything else, he could think of to check. It was time. “Come on Marsha” he’d said, as if talking to not just the car, but to his wife, long gone.
It had purred like a kitten, as it had rolled backwards out of the driveway, and turned onto the road.
His thoughts drifted back to those days of old, and his wanting so much for them, and having so little to offer. He’d relive what he could. He and the car would mark the miles of life yet ahead. They’d go places and do things. In his mind, his Martha would ride beside him. They’d talk about the colors of autumn, the times of driving rains and snow, the days of spring and summer. They’d share the memories of what had been, and he, with her, still in his heart, would share what had yet to be.
LIFE WAS GOOD!