By JOAN M KOP
Here it comes!
That used snow green Ford,
The one in life 9 out of 8.
You could hear the rattletrap 5 blocks away,
The car with features as rare as a Model T—
A summertime defroster,
Fingernail-scratching windshield wipers,
Carpet remnants covering worn upholstery
And air conditioning provided
By a hole in the back seat floor.
My brother smashed it up once,
My sister crashed a telephone pole,
And I managed to drive it sideways
Into a parking lot one icy, wintry morning.
But, oh how we did love it—
Even if it ate gas, the gear shift
Slipped once in a while and the
Backseat window fell down
Every time the car went around a corner.
At least we had a car
And that was a blessing!
Being a member of the generation
Who walked 3 miles to school,
Dad said they were a luxury,
Whether one had 10 kids or not,
But the real truth unspoken
Was we couldn’t afford one.
It was a social handicap,
Mother always begging rides,
While small town inhabitants
Peered out living room windows
Catching sight of
A group of people hurrying by,
Looking twice, laughing to realize
My Dad’s old familiar blue pickup
Was underneath Dad and the rest of us.
My sisters and I in the back
Tried hard to avoid since of indecency,
Tugging with the wind
To keep our flare-skirted dresses down
While my red-faced brothers
Smiled pleasantly at passersby.
Humiliation was at its height
When the pickup stopped each day at school.
It took a lot of poise
To jump from the back of a pickup
With a dress on
in front of teachers and peers.
I thought I’d spare us all
A little embarrassment
And cold legs and faces
By submitting entries
In contests on Cheerios boxes
To win one—a shining station wagon.
I even tried cheating
By asking someone powerful
To fix the contest for me,
Every day lighting votive candles at Church,
Asking Him to please help us get one,
That is, if He wanted us to have it.
Cheerios never came through
But the car, or rattletrap,
Found a home,
Even though the 4 of us,
Who carried newspapers,
Had to sacrifice
5 years’ worth of savings bonds
From the newspaper
Our Mother deserved it!
The Church found me back again
To light another votive candle
In appreciation of my powerful friend
Who I thanked for His help,
Remembering it was me
Who forgot to specify
The make and model.