Car Connection

Once upon a time there were two brothers who hated each other. They fought, and fought, and drove their mother crazy. She was so worried about their ongoing battle that she would lock up the hunting rifles when she left the boys to go into town, just in case.

The brothers were working together in the yard one day, when the older brother pestered the younger brother to his limit. In a moment of thoughtless rage he picked up the nearest thing he could find to chuck at his arch nemesis – a pair of hedge clippers.

The older brother ran for his life as the garden-tool-turned-weapon spun toward him. The younger brother’s rash decision registered as he realized what he had done and watched with horror for the outcome, though he wasn’t sure if he was sorry.

He watched the clippers hurl toward his older brother’s back. At the last minute he veered left, the clippers just missing him. Time seemed to pass in slow-motion as the younger brother now saw the tool spinning recklessly toward a new target – their dad’s 1968 California Special Mustang.

Oh, how he wished the clippers would have hit his brother instead.

Both brothers did live to tell the tale which has become legend in my husband’s family. He was the younger brother. I am happy to report that he and his older brother did eventually relinquish their battle gear and become best friends.

The infamous clippers vs. Mustang story resurfaced last weekend when we went to the Cache Valley Cruise In Car Show with Jason’s parents. We saw many amazing classic cars, but when we came upon a 1968 California Special Mustang father and son almost bowed in reverence together.

There is something about a man and his car.

Jason and his dad exchanged commentary about horse power, engines, speed, options, interiors, body style, detailing and so on and on.

For me, a car is something that gets you from here to there. As long as my vehicle does that consistently without breaking down, it’s valuable in my blue book.

I do appreciate classic cars, though. I don’t know much about what’s under the hood, but what I love about classic cars are the stories they tell. They represent generations and lifestyles long past that conjure up connections and memories, like the hedge clippers story.

Cars took you on family excursions and trips, on dates and out with friends. Learning to drive was my first taste of real freedom. It didn’t matter that the car I drove was a beat-up old Chevette that was five different colors and stalled at stop signs. My friends and I piled in and headed to the movies, the lake, the mall and to drive past boys’ houses to honk and speed away.

As I checked out a beautifully restored 1965 Impala I saw my mother in white-rimmed sunglasses, a full-skirted sun dress and pumps. The 1947 Plymouth looked like a bunch of gangsters in zoot suits would hop out of it at any time to head for the shadows.

My husband drooled over the muscle cars from the 1970s – Corvettes, Cameros and more Mustangs. I could see in his eyes he was picturing a hot retro-babe in a bikini standing next to it.

The car industry certainly knows how to market to men. In every era there has always been some bodacious beauty working the body style to get a buyer’s motor running.

Car shows do seem to bring out the carnal side of our species. The classic mudflap girl has made her way onto bumper stickers, t-shirts, hats, cup holders, jewelry, decals and license plates. I even saw a truck with a brazen bumper sticker that said, “I Love Sluts.”

I don’t know how the connection between autos and animal magnetism started, but I do know that a man can get just as excited about what goes on in the backseat as what goes on under the hood. After all, that is the place where my husband’s lips and mine connected for the first time.

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