For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.
You could call it my dream car. That’s why it makes perfect sense to tell you I am now the proud owner of Maybelline; a big, black and beautiful 1953 Packard Clipper.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a gear head by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, if you put me in a room with nine other guys and our task was to rank us according to our automobile knowledge, we would unanimously agree to put all nine ahead of me and leave the 10th spot for “any other man on earth other than Scott.”
My car knowledge is limited. As for Maybelline, although I’ve owned her for a year now, she’s only resided in my garage for the last two months. Prior to that she took a couple extended vacations with two “car guy” friends of mine for a little R and R – restore and repair. It was worth the time away because today she is absolutely gorgeous and in her best shape in years.
Everything Maybelline has is functional with a few exceptions:
The radio and clock, but I can always install a CD player and wear a watch to take care of those. Well actually, someone else could install a CD player for me, but I can always wear a watch or look at a phone to get the time.
The gas gauge, but I can always fill the tank every time I take Maybelline out for a drive. I haven’t done the math yet, but I imagine she gets about two-and-a-half gallons to the mile.
The speedometer, but I can always be hyper-cautious on the roads. Well, not actually all roads; just those without a posted speed limit.
While I do know Maybelline’s age, I don’t know how many miles she has on her. While the odometer works and displays six numbers, the number on the far right follows a decimal so I don’t know how many hundred thousand miles precedes the currently displayed 89,638.4.
Maybelline and I made our car show debut at Senoia’s annual car show, Cruisin’ to the Oldies. Throughout the day several people asked questions about my Packard. Here are a few I knew the answer to:
What kind of car is this? (“A Packard. To be more specific, a Packard Clipper.” I was beaming with pride since I nailed it! I was beaming even more—if not a little bit relieved once I realized there were no subsequent questions from this particular person.)
What year was it made? (“1953. I wasn’t born yet.” I failed to mention Maybelline only had me by a year. Then again, no one asked.)
Here are the ones I didn’t know the answer to:
All of the rest.
What did you expect? We’ve only really known each other for eight weeks.
After the show, my wife asked me how everything went. I told her I met a lot of interesting people, there were lots of photographs taken of my car and Maybelline was the only Packard in the show.
She then asked me how many questions were asked of me that I didn’t know the answers to. I told her, “all but six or seven.”
“So how many questions were you asked? Let me guess: Six or seven.”
Obviously my wife knows me a lot better than I know Maybelline.
But give us time; we’ve only known each other for eight weeks.
Scott Ludwig lives, runs and writes in Senoia with his wife Cindy, three cats and never enough visits from his grandson Krischan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His books can be found on his author page on Amazon.