It’s spring, when thoughts turn to love and cars. Fondly I recall my first new car, a 1974 Toyota Corolla. I was so green I didn’t know you could negotiate the cost so I paid the full sticker price. I went in to pick it up tried to haggle with the salesman and he said, “You can’t do that.”
“Oh, OK” What did I know about the world?
Imagine $4,300.00 for a new car. It thrilled to drive it off the lot and if I lurched about trying to learn to drive a stick, that excited too.
It was the perfect car to drive about the Midwest for rugby matches, including the Ohio Under 23 select side match against Michigan. I drove with “Moose” and we won the game, on the
way home my mileage was way down and I was sure my car new car was failing. Imagine my relief when I discovered Moose’s bulk cost me six miles per gallon.
Now I dream of a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Corvette, but somehow I don’t think they’ll thrill like a Grey Toyota with a motor smaller than Harley Hog.
I’d love to hear about your first car.
We had such good comments, that I invite you to share a picture if you have it…
In 1982 I was in Paris with two friends for a couple days, a side trip from rugby tour in England. We saw the Jeu De Paume, the Louvre and napped in the Tuileries near an organ grinder with his monkey. The last afternoon we went through the Pigalle, the red-light district and home of some famous theatres and galleries. Even then it was much as you might expect – though sunlight reveals much that evening hides.
As we walked along, there were hawkers, like at a traveling carnival – bellowing out at every entrance, enticing us in – though we didn’t speak the language, we understood the terms. In front of one – three rough looking men saw us and exclaiming “show, show” rushed us in.
It was an old theatre, once grand, now showing wear and tear of time – and they sat us down and offered us drinks. As they went off, we realized our risk – alone in the old theatre – we quickly drew straws to see who’d drink first in case the drinks were drugged, and planned a mad dash out in case this was a robbery or worse – but the beer was just beer – and they guys kept saying – show, wait, drink – and we’d already paid.
After a while, an older lady, probably the cleaning crew hustled past us toward the stage, and then the lights went on, and the music began and the curtain opened and there was our cleaning lady, in a bright red corset and heels dancing a can-can for us.
We gave her a standing ovation, and at the end we left, poorer, entertained and wiser.
YARS – Yet Another Rugby Story
See you in March….
My team had a good bye lunch for one of the fellows who’s rolling off. Eventually the talk turned to everyone’s favorite meals growing up. Since some of the guys are quiet, I try to draw them out a bit.
We had Irish, Slovak, Hispanic and Indian ideas offered up.
“What’s your favorite family meal?” I asked J.
“We just ate whatever there was, there usually wasn’t much.”
Silence from the rest of the team.
J continued, “It was the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and my parents were taken from the university and placed on a farm to be laborers. In fact, I had developed a fever that wouldn’t subside and my family took me to the hospital, but there were no doctors. As they left to return home one of the janitors followed them out of the building. He told them that their baby was very sick, and he would die if he did not receive medicine. It turns out the janitor was a doctor who had been reassigned, and by speaking to J’s parents the doctor was risking his life.”
J’s parents got the medicine and herbs the doctor advised and the little boy was saved.
We all sat for a minute, and I felt how precious life is, and how fragile it can be. I am often reminded that when the world looks bleakest, that heroes and goodness remain.
Here’s to everyday heroes who do good, you chance might be right around the corner.
I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow the lights of the city…
When I was a kid, we used to have streamers and take baseball cards and use clothespins to attach them so the spokes made them echo a baritone trrrrrrpppppp as we rode. Progress is good,
and cyclist visibility makes all the difference. Here’s to being different.
Also posted on 2wheels2kids.wordpress.com