Indeed we were! We were a Ford Escort family. I remember the old light blue wagon that you could hear from a mile away because of the loud muffler–or lack thereof–that my dad drove. Later on we had a white one that was pretty snazzy, and I had the dark blue one in college. Stella Blue I called her. Had some great times in that thing! Me and Toph drove up to Salem, VA for a Panic show in 1999 and drove home afterward! On like a Tuesday. Wild. I also drove it to Knoxville and back for Panic in Chilowhee Park in Knoxville.
But it’s the dark gray late 1980s? model that I want to focus on today. This was the first car I drove when I was 16. I inherited it from my brother. I also inherited his tapes that would play in the cassette player–Harry Connick Jr. 20, Shenandoah, and… that’s all I remember. Probably had some Jimmy Buffett in the mix back then.
This fine automobile had the automatic seatbelts that when the door was shut would move on the track and close in on ya. Better watch out because it isn’t stopping. Of course, though the intention was good, it didn’t do much good, because it gave the appearance of having a seatbelt on, but you still had to manually attach the lap belt, and well, I was 16 and you can’t tell me what to do… 🙂
It was this car as well, that featured in the 7th grade science project video that my friend JC (happy birthday today) and I created! It’s a classic and will surely find its way into a Friday Flashback episode at some point. But… 2 confessions about the ol gray escort:
One time I drove over to our friend’s house near the country club. We were going to, you know, have some times of fellowship… and such. I’m sure Aladdin or Lion King or something was slated, and then the few of us would discuss the literary merits of the films. That’s what 16 year old guys do when they’re with their girlfriends, right?
Soooo… I parked up at the top of the driveway, which was on a significant hill. I got out and was walking in aaaannnnnd… holy *(&%…. the escort was rolling back down the hill. Dowwwwnnnn the hillllll. Across the road. And into the trees across the way. I ran down, probably at first trying to stop it, but when I got down to the bottom I looked into the car. Confession time: I quickly and secretly shifted the gear into P from R. It seems I had left it in Reverse when I got out. I, of course, told everyone that it was in P, and I didn’t know how it happened. Come on Escort… don’t let me take my key out if it isn’t in P. Embarrassing! I don’t remember how we got the car out or if I even stayed for the date…. but what are you gonna do?
And then… me and Gabe one time were on a double date with two Shelby High girls. We were headed to the movie theater to see I don’t know what movie. We were driving around Peach St. in Shelby and there’s this pretty big hill that drops off on a side road. And we got the great idea to see if we could jump the hill in the… Escort. In the Escort. Ridiculous. But I was a sucker for peer pressure. And the girls were egging me on. First run I hesitated and didn’t get enough speed and so we just barely felt anything. Do it again they said. They said. I blame them ;).
So we took a second run at it. MORE SPEED. We got airborne! I froze up in the air and hit the brakes… I mean we were probably like 2 inches off the ground is all… but in my mind it was an action movie scene. You know, in the Escort. And being the dumbasses we were, we were doing this over a hill that takes a sharp hairpin turn to the left shortly after the hill.
So… we landed, and skidded off the side of the road into some trees. Swiped the side of the car and knocked the side view mirror off. And my tire went flat. At the time, being 16 and stupid, I hadn’t had any experience with changing a tire yet. And we now had a flat. Thankfully my big brother was home from college that weekend, so I called him up and he came out like a faithful big brother can, and helped me change my tire.
I told my parents that an animal ran out in front of us and I had to swerve. Terrible. HAHA… in fact, a few years ago around my folks’ supper table I was confessing this story to them, and my mom just made me stop. She wanted to maintain the image of me being good and smart and not stupid and dumb.
We did make it to the movie. But that may have been the last date with those two Shelby girls.
Ahhh… the Ford Escort. After the Escort I inherited Melba T. A beat up 1986 mustang. Have to work that in some Friday as well.
Happy weekend y’all!