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My Goat

My Goat

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Published by Bedelia Butt

A day in my life.

A day in my life.

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Published by: Bedelia Butt on Jan 26, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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‟66 Convertible 4
-Speed 389 GTODuring the early years of my childhood, growing up in Minnesota, Dad would comehome with a new Ford sedan every year, as I remember it. We were very poor, but
cars were Dad‟s greatest
weakness. I loved it and, consequently, cars became mypassion; cars, riding in them and their destinations.On Sundays, Mom, Dad and I would jump in the car and I would stand on the seatbetween them. I wedged my
self behind Dad‟s right shoulder, and I would instruct himwhere to turn to get us to Grandma and Grandpa‟s house
, where we would meet therest of the family for dinner. Even then, at those tender years, I guess I knew it wasabout the journey. I remember Mom and Dad being so impressed with my abilities.They would brag to anyone, and have me demonstrate my navigation prowess.
But then, there was more. It probably started with my ability to recognize other ‟55
Fords. Soon, I was pointing out every year and model that crossed our path. I couldnot be stumped. This finely-honed skill lasted well into my adult life, until all of the carsstarted to look alike, and the challenges
became too great. I‟m also sure the fact that
Mom and Dad were no longer there to impress, made the benefits mute.Once my sister, Suzi, joined the party, Dad decided we needed a station wagon, ormaybe it was his evolving plan to load up all of our belongings and move to Californiathat drove his decision to abandon my belov
ed sedan. I don‟t know. So, out went the‟55 red and white sedan, and in came the ‟56 black and green station wagon. It was
embarrassing, and ugly.Of course, moving to California changed everything. No more meandering drives toSunday dinners at Gran
dma and Grandpa‟s. They didn‟t come with us. My otherGrandmother did, but that‟s another story. She drove, and followed us in
her sea green
 „51 Studebacker to
I don‟t know if it was the higher cost of living in
the Bay Area or the additional cost of another child, but Dad stopped buying a new car every year. In fact, it was three yearsbefore he bought, what turned out to be, his last new car for 28 years. It was, of course, a Ford; a white
‟59 Ford station wagon with oliv
e green interior.I was horrified! White lacked imagination, and olive green was beyond nasty. It wasbad enough that it was another station wagon, but it was also ugly. Why did he pick this one? Well, because it was a deal too good to pass up; a floor model. You see,
even though he wasn‟t buying a new car every year, it didn‟t preclude him from
stopping by the Ford showroom to eye the new models, sit behind the wheel anddream about what could be. Consequently, he developed a quasi friendship with one of 
the salesmen and, on this one particular day, he succumbed to the salesman‟s skilled
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powers of temptation
and brought it home. It was on a trial basis. “Just have fun withit for a few days. You don‟t have to keep it if you don‟t want to.” He was
a GREATsalesman. And, so, I learned that valuable life-lesson at the age of 9-
1/2. I don‟t think 
Dad ever learned it, or, maybe, he just chose to ignore that one.
 After I got my learner‟s permit, during the summer of ‟66, I
was allowed to drive the80+ miles to and from Lake Weatherbee, while pulling the boat on its trailer, everyother weekend from the day school was out, until Labor Day was behind us. Lookingback, it was the best way to learn to drive. I became very talented at driving with theside mirrors only, because the over-packed boat blocked the rear view mirror. This is a
valuable skill that I‟ve appreciated many times during my life. Each time
I wow myself with this ability, the memories of towing that old red boat through Niles Canyon andover Altamont Pass bubble up to the surface.
Once I had my driver‟s license, I drove the station wagon to high school as often as I
could; switching off with my friends a couple times each week. I was thrilled to leavethe big yellow bus and the 6:00 AM bus stop behind me. And, while I was embarrassedby this big old clunker of a car, it was big enough to carry all of my friends off campus
for lunch at A&W or Foster‟s Freeze. The greatest gift was the freedom.
How could Ihate any car that provided the wings I so desperately craved? Any yet, because Iattended a high school in affluent Atherton, it was my friends who had the great cars.
I couldn‟t help but dream about what could be.
 Bev, my best friend, who lived across the street - her father bought her a burned-out
‟57 or ‟58 Renault
-Dauphine, I think. The only thing left of it was the body. He sent itout to be totally restored with a new engine, new interior and he painted it baby blue.It was adorable.Janice, who lived in Atherton, had
a new ‟68 T
-bird, turquoise with turquoise interior.
 Amazing! She later traded it in for a ‟57 TBird convertible. It was a piece of junk but
she was the envy of all the boys, and girls, at school. And, that was the beginning.When I discovered the added freedom of my hair blowing in the wind, I had a newdream.When I turned 18, I found out that my high school graduation present would be thewhite Ford station wagon. By this time, we had bonded. Yes, that ugly car and I haddeveloped a relationship that would later come to shock me, and haunts me eventoday.
Long before I obtained my learner‟s permit,
I learned to drive her on theweekends during the summer at Lake Weatherbee. Dad would let me drive herthrough the campground and surrounding dirt roads, where I navigated between thewheel ruts and stray dogs.
I took up my dad‟s pension for visiting car lots, just for fun. But, I knew better than totake anything off the lot. I didn‟t even start the ignition. I would just ask the salesman
3 |Page 
to put the top down and go away, taking the keys with him. It was harmless. I had nomoney. If I had, it probably would have been an MGB, which Dad would haveprotested because he would not have been able to repair it; it being metric. But it wasmy dream.One day, shortly after graduation, one of the
members of the “
muscle car gang
me he was selling his ‟64 GTO –
red convertible with black interior
for $400. I had$400! I had been babysitting for many years and I had been a carhop at A&W untilrecently. The car was beautiful and fast, and I had to have it. The deal I made with
him was that it had to pass my dad‟s inspection first.
didn‟t raise a dumb blonde;
she just looked like one.
I suppose I suspected it wouldn‟t pass inspection, because it didn‟t. Seeing my
disappointment and yet injected by my enthusiasm
, Dad said, “Don‟t worry. I‟ll find youa good car.” “But I want this car! I want a convertible!” I cried. Two, maybe three,
hours later Dad drove into the driveway with the most beautiful midnight blueconvertible GTO with a black top and black interior. It had a real wood dashboard. I
couldn‟t believe it, and I was sure Dad had lost his mind. I couldn‟t afford this car.That‟s when he started his sales pitch; he‟d lea
rned from the best. Even though it had50,000 miles, it was only two years old and it looked brand new, not beat up like the
‟64. Yes, it was a steal at $2,000, but I could get $300 trade
-in for the Ford and,because I was buying it from the dealership, it could be financed for $67 per month. It
was a very easy sale. I was over the moon, and in love. It didn‟t matter who broughtthe car home, it wasn‟t going back.
 However, I was in fir a big surprise. When it came time to turn in the station wagon,
or real, I couldn‟t do it. As Dad drove away, I cried hysterically. I was baffled by my
own behavior and totally out of control. Even days later, when I saw the station wagonon the car lot, it saddened me to my core. And, when I saw it two weeks later, onanother used car lot, the lot where they dump the cars that only the deadbeats buycars, I burst into tears again. The bond was so surprisingly strong.But, now I had a new ride. It was a knockout. It had wide tires with beautiful rims, afour speed and a 389 engine. My attention, and every waking moment, was devoted tolearning how to achieve scratch in all four gears. I was a natural. It helped that Idrove it 4-5 hours every day. Even though gas, in 1969, was only 39¢ per gallon, Imanaged to spend $102 that first month, filling the tank 2 or 3 times per week.More than once, during that first year, I would set my hair in giant rollers, get in thecar, put down the top and drive to San Francisco and back; to dry my hair, of course. Any ex
cuse would do. Do you need a lift? I‟ll take you anywhere you want to go.
While in San Francisco, I honed my clutch-riding, hill-driving skills. I got very good atit. Better than I could do it today, without a clutch. I got too good, to the point of being bad. Aside from the wind-in-my-hair effect, I gravitated to the gift of speed.

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