The Farm Chronicles: Convertible

Somebody pulled up in the driveway. I didn’t go out and see who it was right away. Had some chores in the barn, probably cleaning stalls. I came out into the barnyard and through the glow of the afternoon sun, there was an image I never thought possible to be sitting in our driveway. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There she sat. In the driveway. A brand new red 1962 Ford Thunderbird convertible. Top down. White tuck and roll leather bucket seats with a classic rounded back seat. The dashboard looked like the cockpit on my Jimmy Jet and it had a sleek middle console. The car reminded me of something that would have come out of the space-aged cartoon The Jetsons. Couldn’t believe my dad bought it.

Well, he didn’t. After I looked that T-Bird over and ran my hands along its sleek outer lines, examined the “thruster-like” taillights, and the rounded aerodynamic grill, I meandered into the house imagining riding down the country roads with my hair blowing in the wind. There in the kitchen was Dad, Mom, and the car salesman sitting around the kitchen table. Pretty serious discussion. Back then, car dealers jacked prices up. It was up to the buyers whether they would pay full price or haggle for a better price. My Dad was a horse trader, so that car salesman, who drove that wonderful T-Bird all the way from Kent 20 miles away to make a sale, was in for some dealing. Dad told me to go outside and look at the car.

Having permission, I opened the driver’s side door and sat in the contoured bucket seat in front of the steering wheel. You can imagine all the adventures that were rolling through my mind on that mild, late summer afternoon, as I pretended to drive that sports car. I ended up in the back seat, trying it out for leg room. I was amazed at the tuck and roll craftmanship and how the backseat sort of curved on the edges. I fell in love with that car. About two hours later, the salesman came out. Dad said to come out of the car. The salesman said something like, “You are passing up a great deal.” Dad said something like $4,700 is my price. That car was going for about $5,500. So it was no deal. I was so disappointed.

Dad said they wanted too much for the car. Mom said there wasn’t enough room in it. A little later, though, they bought a 1962 Buick Invicta convertible, light metallic blue with matching interior. It didn’t have the bucket seats, bench seats in the front. Huge back seat. And the trunk was as big as a ballroom. Dad got his convertible. Mom got her room. And I believe they paid less than $4,000 at Gifford Buick in Kent, Ohio. It was unusual to see a farmer in bibbed overalls and a cowboy hat riding in a sporty car with the top down. But that was Dad, and Mom might be found in the back seat being chauffeured in her Jackie Kennedy sunglasses and scarf. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It’s true with cars as well. Convertibles stuck with me as I have had one for many years.

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Bill Wilson

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