The classic ’64 and a half Mustang sat in my garage for 12 years. Today it is leaving and with it a memory and a part of history.
It is early morning and I know Ron from Daytona Beach will be arriving any minute to take the car away. The day is lovely and I hang out laundry on the line to celebrate this day that is flirting with spring. I open the garage doors to take out my bike after a short hiatus of snow and ice. I also laugh to myself as I realize my bike sits in the middle of my garage while the old Jeep spends winter in the driveway.
I open up the other garage door where the Mustang sits. She is a beauty. She was Adam’s high school car. He was always going to fix it up to drive it, but things change. He lives in Florida and now that he is a Charter Captain, he has other mechanical items to tinker with.
I think the tires are flat, as well they should be after sitting for twelve years. There are still dusty prints of little boys crawling over the top of the car and gray fur from a cozy cat napping in the center of the roof. I think I should move some things around as my “gardening center” surrounds the Mustang. Perhaps if the car were to stay it would become ‘green’ with living things climbing out of the windows and tailpipe.
I told Adam I would house it for him until he was ready, but I guess it is time to move on.
Ron arrives with a large trailer. He is tall with a graying beard and seems a little rough around the edges until I remind him that it is an Emily Dickinson kind of day…”I’ll tell you how the sun rose, a ribbon at a time…” He appears to be a bit confused over my early morning enthusiasm, but nonetheless, I am trying to ease my own pain giving up the car.
He and Aaron move out the summer bench that was perched next to the passenger door. Some of my recycling falls out as well. (It seems as if it is always snowy or icy on Wednesday!)
The tires are pumped up and Ron takes his first good look at his purchase. “It is OK,” I say, “if you don’t want it, leave it here.”
My neighbor Mike has offered to help restore this car and now I have visions of Fourth of July parades as I am driving through town. Ron likes the car. My dreams are dashed.
I tell him how much I loved this car for Adam and all the memories that are in it. I want Ron to know it isn’t just a car he is buying, but a son’s high school car, Adam’s Rite of Passage…proms, fishing trips, baseball practices, summer jobs. Ron takes my business card and promises to send me photos after the restoration. I shake his hand and leave before the Mustang is hauled out and away.
I come home to find the garage door shut and the bench still in my driveway. I open the garage door hoping to find a memento from the car. There are leaves from a dozen Autumns strewn across the floor. There are a few Legos as well from the neighborhood children.
But something catches my eye. I brush away a few of the leaves and find a sheet of paper. It is faded as I lift it off the garage floor. I turn the paper over and my breath catches. The lines are faded on the back as well, but the words, written in pink ink, are clear as if they had been written yesterday. I straighten out the paper and read it as I stand among the leaves… “and the cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon,” by Cat Stevens. Other, original lines had been added as well. Did Adam write these words and, of course I think, were they for me?
I go inside shaking as I call Adam. I tell him the car is gone, the garage is empty and I am sad. I then tell him about my find. He doesn’t remember the paper, but then again it was a long time ago.
I hang up the phone missing him… “When you comin home, Son, I don’t know when…”