By Ralph Hood
Back in my day as a teenager, we were absolutely wild about cars.
We couldn’t get a driver’s license until age 16. I was so anxious that I took the driver’s license test on a Friday, even though I wouldn’t be 16 years old until Sunday. On Monday I picked up the license and drove away in full belief that I was one of the best drivers in the world. (Later, I went to see the Sebring, Florida, auto race. Watching those drivers made it obvious to me that I could never drive that fast or that well. That was very sad for me.)
I wanted a sports car, but Daddy was willing to buy a used Volkswagen Beetle. That was the first of my favorite cars. It wasn’t really my car, of course; it was a second car for our family. It had very little power but it was fun on the highway trying to keep up with the semi-trucks.
In the late 1950s, our family bought a used Ford Fairlane with a V-8 engine. It would get up to some amazing speeds. How I lived through my sinful enjoyment of that car I don’t know.
At the time we got the Fairlane, the county was building a long bridge across the ocean inlet in Brunswick, Georgia. We would sneak out at night, remove the blockades and drive to the top of the bridge.
Then we came down that bridge at full power running close to 100 miles per hour. We went through the toll booth at those speeds. Today, I shudder to think of the risk.
Years later, as a single adult, I bought a Ford Mustang. Oh, how I loved that Mustang! It was beautiful and it would scoot. Girls liked it. One of those girls became my wife, and we have now been married for 54 years!
My next favorite car wasn’t a car at all. It was a small, red pickup truck. The only extras it had were air conditioning and a radio. It was a very versatile vehicle. Once we loaded it with real railroad ties. The load, of course, was in the back of the truck and I was scared that the front tires would rise up off the road. That truck served us well for many years and then one fine day, the truck died — totally — on the interstate. We still miss it.
Our current car is a Honda Civic. It drives better than the Mustang and saves a lot of gas money. The car was new back in 2014, and it is still beautiful today.
I love the Honda. I hope it will last for the rest of my life. It could happen. I’m already 80 years old.