Monday, June 17, 2019

Riding in A Convertible

                                                 Riding in A Convertible
    By Valerie L. Egar

            I'd begged for a ride in Uncle Crick’s convertible since I was a little kid. “Not yet, Gina,” he’d say, looking at Mom.  If I turned quickly, I’d catch her shaking her head ‘no.’ I didn’t understand why.
“It’s like the rides at the amusement park,” Mom said. “You have to be big enough.”
“How big?” I asked. I wanted to hear a height, weight or age like I endured with car seats and the rides I wanted to try at the amusement park.
“When I say you are.” 
I knew better than to argue, but I didn’t want to have grey hair before she said yes. A ride in a car with its top down might not sound like much, but if you saw Uncle Crick’s car, you’d want a ride, too. It’s candy apple red, with two black leather seats in front that almost wrap around you. I call it a movie star car, even though Uncle Crick isn’t a movie star.

The summer I turned 12, Mom finally said yes. “You need to tie your hair back,” she said. “You don’t want it blowing all around and getting in your face.”
I pulled my hair into a ponytail.
“Sunscreen.” Mom handed me the bottle. I was so excited, I poured too much out.
“That’s OK.” Mom dipped the tip of her fingers into the lotion and dabbed some on the tops of my ears. She handed  me a pair of sunglasses. “I think you’re ready.”
I sat next to Uncle Crick and buckled my seat belt. He let me choose the radio station. Hard decision. I chose classic rock because we both like it.
He started the car, pulled out onto the road and shifted gears. I felt air cool my face, like when I ride my bicycle, only stronger. I was glad my hair was tied back because it was blowing.
I shut my eyes and took a deep breath. New mown grass. Some kind of flower. The air smelled wonderful.
“I think dogs would like convertibles.”
Uncle Crick laughed. “Why is that?”
“Because they could smell everything.”
“Sometimes that’s not so good,” Uncle Crick said as we passed a factory.
When we drove through Maple Vale, Uncle Crick drove through town slowly and I waved to people on the street. Everybody waved back. A few yelled, “Cool car!”
I saw a Dairy Delight up ahead. “Mmmm, I smell ice cream.”
“What an amazing nose you have! Tell me what flavor you smell,” Uncle Crick teased.
“Peanut butter ripple, with chocolate sprinkles.”
Uncle Crick sniffed the air.  “Mmm.  I think I smell black raspberry.” He pulled the car into the parking lot.
Soon we were seated at a picnic table with cones.

 “So, you like riding in my car?”
“Yup,” I said between slurps. I rubbed my nose which felt a little burned, even with the sun screen.
“Uh oh.” Uncle Crick looked at the sky. Black rain clouds loomed overhead. “Better get the top up.”
He handed me his cone and ran for the car, but it was too late. The sky opened and rain poured into the open car. Uncle Crick pulled out a roll of paper towels from his console. “I learned to carry these a long time ago.”
No matter how much water we wiped up, the back of my pants still got wet when I sat down.
I didn’t mind though. I loved riding in his car. I’d felt the wind on my face, rustling my hair. I was outside, where I love to be, in the sunshine (mostly), zooming through the countryside. There was only one more thing I wanted.
“Can we go for a drive some night?” I asked.
Uncle Crick raised his eyebrows.
“I want the top down to look at the stars.”

“Ah,” he said. “At night, there’s nothing better. Wait until you look up and  see the Milky Way.”

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Copyright 2019 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied, reproduced or distributed without permission from the author.
Published Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME) May 18, 2019.

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