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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Crash, bang, boom!


My first car was a 1980 Pontiac Grand Le Mans which I purchased from my parents for around $500. This car had been my Mom's baby for seven years and taken her to and from work every day for those seven years without a moments trouble. Mom always gave names to her cars based on the license plate so she could remember the number. This particular car was Emma (EMH O31). Mom worked in Joplin and we lived in Neosho, thirty miles away. So, 60 miles a day were put on the car not to mention the Friday night and Saturday trips to town, which mean going back to Joplin. We easily put 500 miles on Emma a week, easy.


By the time the car came my way, Emma was in bad shape. She just wasn't the car she used to be, although she really wanted to be, it just wasn't in her. Mom had this really snazzy, two door coupe, an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. This car was a beauty, white with a maroon vinyl roof, really sharp. It was the first car we had with fancy climate controls and other gadgets that were really cool! Emma obviously knew she had been replace and had no reason for living, which meant she would give me fits every day of our relationship. I was often very frustrated with that car and kicked it's tires many, many times.


One of the most embarrassing times came one day when I was trying to leave school, high school. I always turned left and drove up the hill to get home. Leroy the rent-a-cop always directed traffic and allowed us to go at his pleasure. This particular day, he was motioning me to move on, as I accelerated quickly Emma had a stroke. There I sat...dead...in the middle of the dad gummed road...students walking around my car laughing and poking fun. "Get a real car." "Nice rod, spooooon." Humiliating, Emma came to life after that moment and took me home where I contemplated never leaving the house again. We never could figure out what was wrong with that car.
The last summer I spent with Emma was, shall we say...tumultuous. I had secured a job at the mall, working for a Toy Store. This replaced my job at Wendy's (that is SO another blog post!) which I totally hated from the first greasy day to the last. The mall would turn out to be a good gig, ill-fated thanks to Emma. I have this thing about being late--i hate it. I would always leave the house at least an hour before I had to be there just to make sure I was not late. Driving from Neosho to Joplin meant going Highway 71 a two lane mostly curvy highway but not dangerous. Once I hit the big city things got stupid (please don't' tell Titus I spelled that word I'll never hear the end of it) four lanes of madness. The best shot for me to get to the mall was to go straight down Rangeline Road. This stretch of road was crazy.
I don't know what it is about people driving, they really make me crazy. People clearly didn't have an awareness that there were any other vehicles on the road and would make right hand turns in the left lane, vice versa, stop in the middle of the road when ever they felt it was best, run yellow lights, stop midstream when they realized they had passed the place they needed to be and try to get back there without turning around. Treacherous to say the least. I was very cautious and didn't want to cause any trouble, so I followed the rules, never gassing my way through the yellow lights or anything. I never knew when Emma woudl go all cranky pants on me and shut down either so the rule was-No sudden moves!
I was about two miles away from the mall and had cleared the most dangerous part of Rangeline, approaching Bonanza when all of a sudden--WHAM! This car had jetted out from Bonanza in an attempt to outrun me and I hit the back left side of their car. The speed limit on Rangeline was 45 so cars moved at a good clip. What had just happened? I...I...I have been struck! I've had my first wreck! Where is the other car? No where to be found. The car had driven off, sped away. I hoped the toothpick that old geezer was using to farm the crud from this teeth got lodged in there for good! Not only had my first wreck been in Joplin on Rangeline, but it was a hit and run! I was hit and they had run! My mind was racing with the first step, what to do, what to do? I was in a total quandary. I put the car in park-good first step!, got out and saw that the front left of my car had been smashed in, no head light, all crunched up. I looked around as cars sped past me, some honking at their inconvenience. Heaven forbid my wreck make them change lanes! I just didn't know what to do and couldn't believe this was happening to me.
I walked up to wal-mart, which was far away, and called my Dad. "Hello" "Dad...this is Will--"
"What happened!" "I've been in a wreck on Rangeline." "Is the car ok?" You can leave it to my Dad to always, always ask the right questions. "Yessss, I'm ok too, thanks for asking. The headlight is bashed in on the left side." "Is anyone hurt?" "No, they are gone, they drove off." "What! Did you call the police--Dorothy just a minute--your mother wants to talk to you." "Sugarbear, this is Mom [she loves to state the obvious] are you ok, do you need me to come up there? Have you called an ambulance?" "Mom, I'm ok, I'm fine. I don't' need an ambulance, I just need to know what to do." "Call the police, then call your boss and go to work." "Will?" "Yes, Dad?" "Where is the car?" "Still where it was when it was hit, I walked up to Wal-Mart to call home." "Is it running [Dad knows me really well]?" "....Nnn...ooo." It was still running, should have turned the car off but I was traumatized! Poor Emma was all abandoned and wanting desperately to go to a shady place and lick her wounds. Poor Emma was a one eye!
The police filed a report and said they would call if anything came up and thanked me for doing the right thing. I finally got to work and called Lucy. She couldn't believe it and wanted to come to the Mall and make sure I was ok, I assured her I was fine. Around 8:30 PM or so the phone at work rang. "Thank you for calling Toy Connection, this is Will how may I help?" "...Mr. Spoon please?" "This is he, may I help you?" "This is officer Iforgothisname the couple involved in the incident have been found. The person whom you were involved in the altercation with has come to the station to file a report. Wrong thing to do because they were charged with five citations." Apparently the old fart had gone to the station thinking I would have bolted away all a twitter in my youth, he clearly didn't know me very well. The guy had tried to tell them I hit him and ran away...ha...ha...ha! Busted, I hope the overindulged buffet grazing geezer had indigestion. I settled with their insurance for around $500 or so and still had ol' Emma one eye and $500 to boot. Not bad for a months trauma.
Now I not only had a nearly ten year old car that barely ran, but I had a nearly ten year old car that barely ran and had a crushed in front left light. Uncle Buck had a better car! Thank God it was summer and I didn't have to face the school!
Two months later, another wreck...this time not so fortunate. That will come tomorrow...stay tuned!

3 comments:

Jamie S said...

Is that yo momma in the picture????? Pretty hot!

Tracy said...

omigosh will - there are just too many things to comment on!
first - the way you wrtie - i'm totally cracking up - the things you say and HOW you say them- things like cranky pants, "farm the crud from his teeth" - its just tooooo funny.
olds cutlass supreme - ah yes - we had one those - you associated many a memory with what car your family had!
just loved this story. now i wanna hear about Wendy's (the frosty's didnt even help???)

Donna said...

That truly is an embarrassing car. Thank God my dad was all into nice looking cars. No one under his roof would be seen in a clunker! AND, of course you left the wrecked car running in the middle of the road. Of course you did.
Oh yeah....it gives me a headache when you call Lesa Lucy. Drives me nuts.