by Shannon McArthur
My first was a deep red Chevy F-15 Extended Cab truck with a sun roof, running boards, pin striping and tie downs – until camping in tents brought us to our knees. Then we found a matching canopy and she morphed into a cool panel van, sort-of. She was sweet. Our first big trip was down Highway 1 along the west coast from Vancouver to Disneyland. Dad had always wanted to take me there and it was his legacy that went into buying her for me – so he did take me, after all! We saw all the places we had heard and sung about when we were kids – Route 66, Ventura Highway, Little Ol’ Lady from Pasadena, Do You Know the Way to San Jose, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Harley – OK, that’s not as old but it was real good! We had only a few CDs that we played over and over: Kathy Mattea, Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tracy Chapman, Bonnie Raitt…
The thing was, we only test drove the one vehicle, and that decision was taken out of my hands – when my friend stooped down to check out the running boards, she split her pants from bottom to top! She slid in quick and called out to say we HAVE to take it for a test drive! And I chirped the tires (by accident?) leaving the car lot! Ooo, spunky!
And now, 15ish years later, I’ve finally taken my next test drive… another Chevrolet, a creamy white PT Cruiser that had been sitting for a couple of years because the owners were old and not well, so I took it for a check-up and it passed with flying colours. And then I took it for a real drive, out the highway and back by the back roads and the sun was on my shoulder and the wind in my hair and it was feelin’ good! So, gotta check the radio… first station was French. I hit Seek and the next station was… French… Seek again! Next I heard was Country 103.1 so I stayed and listened to the first song – and it was good! Feeling FINE! Sun and wind and music, and when the song was over, I realized what I’d been listening to… I’ve got a Cool Car. Yes, Jimmy Rankin, you said it! No, you sang it… and the spell was cast!
I knew then that the car would be mine. There was a point when negotiations broke down and I had to accept I might not get it… But the next morning both my lender and the owner came back to me and the deal was done. It is now true: I’ve got a Cool Car!
I was so excited by the whole experience, I had to write to Jimmie Rankin to tell him of the magic woven with his song. He didn’t get the message – it got lost in the belly of the Internet Beast! And eventually I re-sent it. He got it, with a little help, and now he knows so I’m posting this, finally. Jimmy, this story is for you! The car is mine! Thanks for being part of the Magic!
We all are, truth to tell, but I like to share the glow, the sparkle… and give credit where credit is due! And credit must be given also to my neighbour, John, the man behind the camera, who took time away from sitting on his stoop with his friends to take that great photo up there. See us here, discussing the shot… he knew just how to make both the car and me look good! Great neighbours make everything better!
Sharing makes the glow sparkle… Sparkle on, everyone!!