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

For it—

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.