I’m not sure why my son Kadon got his first car soon after he got his driver’s license…but he did. It was an almost 20-year-old, hand-me-down, 2002 Supercharge Pontiac Bonneville from his cousin Jessica. She got it from her brother Brad and his mom Michelle bought it from some mechanic for $3000 (a good deal I guess). It was named Jemall–it means “handsome” in Arabic (in case you were wondering, which I’m pretty sure you weren’t).
But anyway, to operate Jemall, you needed a screwdriver to stop the windshield cleaning system from spraying and wiping your windows if you dared to brush the button. When it rained, water puddled on the floor of the backseat. Pins held up the headliner. Ice and fog regularly formed on the inside of the windows. You had to manually lock all the doors because the automatic locks clicked, but nothing happened. And only the driver’s window went up and down. Whew, I think that’s it.
But really, Kadon was thrilled to have a car. His car. All his. I didn’t have a car in High School. I did get to drive Mom’s Ford Mercury to school on Fridays. But the rule was that I was to go to school and home…that’s all.
When I was in college…no car. I would watch the “ride board” in the Student Union for a 2-way ride for $30 to go home on a weekend. Pick-up and drop-off were in the McDonald’s parking lot right off of Hwy 151.
That was until one wonderful day during my Junior year. Judy and Chris were visiting from California and the conversation that Sunday was about why mom and dad would pay to put Grandma Is’ car in storage instead of letting me take it to school. I was 20 years old and had my driver’s license for 3 1/2 years, but I didn’t have a car. But mom has always been hysterical about ‘Chelle or me driving–especially at night.
Judy and Chris’ reasoning won out. Dad called the insurance agent to make sure that the 15-year-old, hand-me-down, 1972 Mercury Comet and I were covered. Although I have no memory of leaving the house, I must have felt so grown up…free…responsible. I was driving MY car. MY FIRST CAR.
By the time I got to Eau Claire, it was after midnight. I entered town and drove toward my dorm on a nearly deserted Claremont Avenue. As I slowly drifted over 3 lanes to get into the right turn lane, the lone car way off in the distance behind me turned on its flashing red and blue lights.
I remember that I explained to the officer all of the events of the evening that led me to drive late and become tired after more than 3 hours of driving by myself.
He gave me a warning and to this day, I am religious about signaling when changing lanes.
Well, now back to Kadon. Yeah. Well now, he has had one fender bender in his couple of years of driving. “And what happened?” you may ask.
Well, he had a little problem changing lanes. Someone happened to be in the space he was trying to merge into on the way to work one day. I wish I could say that the little ding he put in the corner of his rear driver’s side bumper was an addition to Jemall’s character. But it is instead on his much newer, bright blue Ford Focus.
But I’m sure that just like me,
he will be a lot more careful in the future changing lanes.
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