What not to say

My child bride debuted her new car yesterday.

Though we paid in full last Thursday, and the saleswoman drove the car from the capital to our Hacienda on Saturday, it sat looking pretty in the carport, unmolested, till yesterday.

There had been a little difficulty with getting license plates.

Though my paisanos often drive with either no plates or expired ones, and the police pay little mind, we didn’t feel comfortable developing that bad habit.

We finally got plated and stickered around noon yesterday and, four hours later, she took off alone toward downtown and later the gym, her first solo jaunt ever in a car with automatic transmission, which had her a bit perplexed. Left foot does nothing?!

To say that she was happy is a colossal understatement. Think 7-year-old on Christmas morning. It’s only her second car ever, the first being identical to the 2000 Chevy we recently sold. We sold hers shortly after marrying because we did not need twin cars.

As is normal, she wants everybody to notice her stylish ride, to be as impressed with it as she is, which is to say monumentally impressed.

I can’t help thinking about my father’s remark back in 1956. Our family had just purchased a new green Plymouth Savoy, tail fins and all.

I was 12 and feeling like my bride feels today, jubilant.

I was over the moon, and as we drove down the street that first day, the old man looked over his shoulder at the excited boy in the back seat and said:

Son, nobody gives a damn about our new car but us.

1956 Plymouth Savoy

20 thoughts on “What not to say

  1. Your dad’s advice was lawyerly. Correct and useless. The feeling that comes from driving in a new car is exclusively for the owner — and to be appreciated privately in public. Hegelians call it a contradiction. I call it better than home-made butter on a scone.


    1. Debi: She’s had both cars at her disposal for years. She was always antsy about the Honda because of its automatic transmission and size, so she always used the little Chevy. But now she’s traveling in style and with a big smile on her face.


      1. If she’s antsy about an automatic, why didn’t you just buy a stick shift? It doesn’t seem like your area is choked in traffic.

        I’m happy for her. Let’s hope the feeling doesn’t wear off very quickly. Maybe you should get her to drive you to the beach.


        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where we’ve never bought a new car.


        1. Kim: She already loves the automatic, just after a few days. They are far easier to drive especially in town, which is where she drives 99.9 percent of the time.

          As for driving to the beach, the Honda is better.

          I went most of my life without buying a new car, but down here I think new cars are wiser due to the Mexican culture. We don’t treat cars or dogs or women well. There are exceptions, of course.


  2. My father bought the ’56 Dodge, two-tone blue, 3 on the tree.

    After having sticks all my life, then changing to an automatic, the only reason for a stick is high performance. There’s no savings in fuel anymore.

    Happy for your wife!


      1. Note that the 1956 Chrysler products introduced the tail fins that were copied on the 1957 GM cars, such as the Chev, now one of the most famous collector cars.


  3. I am beginning to suspect that your daddy was not a nice Southern gentleman in some respects. My daddy didn’t use four letter words, at least at home. Once, I heard him say “damn,” when we were on vacation very far away in the middle of the great state of Michigan, and we had run out of gas. I looked forward to my dad coming home with a new company car about every 2 or 3 years. He usually had a boring Impala but once he had an El Camino which we all loved dearly.


    1. Laurie: I think one reason that comment has stuck in my mind for over 50 years is the fact that he did include the damn word, which was very unusual. Except for that one instance, and I believe one time my mother let out the same word, just once, I never heard either of them utter a cuss word ever. I never heard profanity till I entered the Air Force, and then I heard plenty.

      Even in high school, nobody cursed. It was a very different time.


      1. I come from cursed stock. My grandparents swore, my parents swore, and I swear. Anyone who’s met me f2f or even on the phone knows that sailors have been known to blush in my presence. All range of colorful language pass through my lips. It’s who I am.

        That said, I do read and try to diligently follow the counsel of Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt and, on occasion, Miss Manners. I like etiquette. I like to set the table properly. I like to write notes of appreciation, make proper introductions, and use the right fork.

        Some of the politest people I’ve known on the planet speak like I do, and I’ve run across a goodly number whose speech mirrors The Church Lady but who are still boorish scum.

        The 1959 Cadillac, now that was a car.


        1. Red Shoes: So what you’re saying is that you’re a complete woman from head to toe.

          As for the 1959 Cadillac, it was indeed a car. Most all American cars of the 1950s, which I recall first-hand, were things of beauty, and I miss them.


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