A Hellcat love story
First post (ever, to any online forum).
At 13 years old, I was mowing grass for neighbors, saving my money to buy my ultimate dream. I graduated from mowing yards to bagging groceries at Winn Dixie. By 16 years old I had almost saved enough money to buy my first car. I'd ride my bike to 7-11 every Friday afternoon, buy the latest AutoTrader and read it cover to cover. Month after month. I finally found a used car that looked promising at $1,500. I got a ride from a friend and we headed for Miami. That night I came home with a black/black '71 Olds 442. 455, 4:11 rear gear, 3-speed automatic with shift kit, jacked up high in the rear with massively wide chrome Crager SS wheels. As a 17 year old, I had the fastest car in my high school and would routinely burn an entire tank of gas on a Friday night just cruising the strip at Ft. Lauderdale beach.
That same year, I met a cute, sweet girl at church youth group. She was only 15 and with strict parents so if we went to a movie or the roller rink, I had to have her home by 9:00. With me being smitten and her being a church girl and all, I drove that Olds quietly while she was in it. But after dropping her home, I'd head straight back to the strip, roar and burn rubber the rest of the night.
The 442 became a stepping stone to a '69 GTO convertible ($3,000). Silver, white top, hide-away lights, tach on the hood, 4 on the floor Ram Air 400 with a lopey Crane cam. My girl-friend liked it too. 7 years later we were married.
2 years later she was pregnant with my son, the next year, my daughter. 2 years after that, another daughter. Hot rods went away, Hello Eddie Bauer mini-van. Later, a Ford Winstar.
I knew she was right, hot rods aren't practical, can't fit the family, gas guzzler, blah, blah, but damn, I sure missed those cars. When driving the whole family to Disney, there's nothing like trying to get a mini-van to go just a LITTLE faster on the turnpike to get around a car going 57. Press the pedal a little, (not going faster) just a tad more (not going faster) then suddenly wooWAAAA, surprise 2 gear downshift and a dirty look from my wife who was trying to take a nap.
I love my kids but I sure missed the feeling of driving an enjoyable car. Years pass, kindergarden plays, recorder flute performances, boy scouts, girl scouts, high school, college graduations, all kids moved out, wedding, grandson...
A few months ago I had a birthday but my wife was out of town that day on business. My youngest daughter and her Marine boyfriend took me to dinner. My wife called and said we'll celebrate this coming weekend. Friday night her airplane lands and we make plans to meet at a local restaurant/bar. I arrive before her and order a Jack Daniels. During my first sip, my cellphone rings. She says, "Change of plans, we're going someplace else, meet me outside". Uhh. OK. Chug my drink, pay the girl and walk outside. Just outside the door, she's sitting in her running car, rolls the window down and with a sly smile says, "Get in".
She says it's a surprise and I have to to wear a blindfold. She then wraps my head with a girly pink flowered silk scarf. I reluctantly go along with the shenanigans, figuring we're going to some fancy seafood restaurant for stone crabs. (she did this once before when we were in college) 10 minutes later we arrive somewhere. She leads me out of the car and walks me into some place, leading me by the hand, "walk this way, watch your step here, turn here, now sit". I can hear music but no smell of food. I sit down but my butt feels crooked, I say, "Honey, something's wrong with my chair". She pulls the scarf off my head.
I find myself sitting halfway in a Challenger inside a Dodge dealership showroom. She smiles and says, "It's a Hellcat. Happy Birthday Honey". I'm in shock. Speechless. Bewildered. There's a couple of salespeople standing at the edge of the showroom staring at me. She notices me glance at the auto shifter. "Now we going to sit with this nice lady over there and order the one you want because I can't find a single military green stick shift Hellcat for sale in the country".
I am in awe and still in love with my high school sweetheart.