Learning to Love Dad’s Old Mercury Comet

When my Mom pulled into to the drive-way in a brand new jet black Lincoln Mark VI, my sister and I knew that the time had come for us to finally have our own ride. While my thoughts were of us getting my mom’s old car. I never dreamed that Dad would get the Cougar and we would get his car.

“But Dad you have to drive all the way downtown! Your car is a compact and it is only you! We have friends and places to go.” This was not a very good answer to give a man who pays the bills. With one, strike the fear of death look from him, I did what any teenage girl could–I whined.”It looks like a taxi cab! Maybe I should pick up fares.”

“Maybe you should. Come to think of it do you have a job?” He turned his head back to reading the paper, knowing he had won.

“Awwwww” I groaned.

And so it was to be, my sister and I would share the taxi cab yellow Mercury Comet. She was a 1976 or 77 and Dad had driven her for about five years. Four doors, no dents, she had AC and an AM/FM radio. Throw in ten bucks of gas,and if my sister didn’t drive her on my week (which was seldom), I didn’t need to put in a penny more. I could head to the mall at least 6 times, run to the grocery store for my grandmother whenever she asked and still have plenty of gas to drive to Kent State University and get a feel for campus life. Okay, I confess I was checking out the college guys, but because of the glow in the dark color they could see my friends and I too.

‘The Cab’ (as I would come to call her) never let me down. While her bright yellow hue was the cause of numerous jokes. No one ever complained about her when the snow started falling in October and the comedians were freezing their butts off at the bus stop. By the time I got to school, The Cab looked more like a clown car with at least eight people climbing out.

She was made of solid steel with a V6 engine. She would get me were I was going and give my parents piece of mind that I was driving a mini tank. She never seemed to fishtail or slide on ice (much to my chagrin, when trying to do donuts on a snow covered parking lot). I hated that she always started, especially when I had a biology paper due or a Spanish test I didn’t want to take. The Cab was for all practical purposes overly dependable. I often wondered if it was payback for not wanting her.

We had an understanding– I would fill her up and she would show me the world. Journey blasting on the radio, with the windows rolled down,and headed to another family errand, you know the drill. Those amazing first drives of freedom, the sun, the open road and the bag of tomatoes my grandmother needed for dinner in the backseat.