The Open Road


I love to drive. I love the sensation of speed, the vibration of the vehicle, the adventure of taking a new route to a familiar destination. I like the challenges of driving in town, weaving through traffic, accelerating into an empty space (turn signal on, of course) and the satisfaction of beating some weenie in a Honda Accord when he pulls up next to you at a stoplight. I’m in the right lane, he’s in the left, and he thinks he’s going to beat me and my 5.4L V-8 engine in an acceleration duel when the light turns green? I think not!

I’m really getting used to driving Candy, my new Ford Expedition. For the first month or so, I was extremely careful and cautious, only going to town on weekday mornings when there’s little traffic. Now, however, I’m not afraid to tackle the Saturday traffic on Collins Road, the busiest street in Cedar Rapids. What a great vehicle, my SUV, and what a satisfying feeling, cruising along, The Essential Johnny Cash 3-CD set playing on the stereo, a soda in one cup holder and a box of Wendy’s fries in the other. After a week of snow days and cabin fevered kids, its relaxing to get out on my own and go shopping, buying tools for my man, the world’s greatest husband. He is, at this very moment, down in the basement closing off one corner so I can have a heated area in which to paint. And since every job requires a new tool, I went out and got him a Remington 490 .22 caliber concrete nailer. This thing is cool. You put a special washered nail and a .22 caliber charge in this gun, point it straight down, pull the trigger and viola! your 2 x 4 treated lumber stud is pinned to the concrete floor. Much faster than a hammer drill and concrete anchors, and upstairs here it sounds like a wood plank hitting the floor. And as a side benefit, if the commie-socialists take over America and confiscate our guns, we still have a means (besides Judah) to defend our property. “Hello, 911? Some guy just broke into our house and I nailed him to the wall with my concrete nailer. You better send the sheriff and an ambulance before my dog eats this guy. No, really, I’m not kidding. What? No, that’s OK, I have a prybar in the garage the EMT’s can borrow.” Imagine that on your six o’clock news.

Anyway, back to driving. As much as I love my truck, the one car that we had that I really enjoyed driving was Carl’s 1986 Ford Mustang GT. It had a 5.0L V-8 engine, manual transmission, and more get up and go than the Space Shuttle. Alas, we had to trade the ‘tang in when our first daughter was born because the car was essentially a two-seater, and there was no place for her car carrier thingamabob. However, I promised Carl that once Candy is paid for, he can go out and get himself some kind of sports sedan. He’ll be just about mid-life crisis age then, and our oldest daughter will be sixteen, so she can inherit her Dad’s old F-150 pickup. I can only hope she inherits my love of driving.


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