Growing up I used to listen to Kasey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown. Not out of love for Top 40 music, but out of boredom, and pure desire to be current. Each week Kasey would read a letter from a listener, who wrote in to make a long distance dedication. These were always heart wrenching letters, along the lines of…
I’m writing to ask for a long distance dedication to my brother Earl. I haven’t seen him since we were both 8 years old. You see Kasey, we were Siamese twins, and it wasn’t until we were four that Mom was able to raise enough money to pay for the operation to have us separated. Little did we know that it would be both the best and worst moment in our lives. Mom loved us dearly, and wanted us to have a normal life like all the other children at the playground. She spent 4 years traveling, and working to raise enough money to give us that operation. If only we knew the problems it would cause in our family life. You see Kasey, my Mom took us to have that operation without my Dad’s permission. He was furious when he found out. Once Earl and I were no longer Siamese Twins, we were dropped from the traveling freak show. What followed was 4 long years of living in bus stations, scraping up gum from the floor and selling it on the street. Those were hard years Kasey, because people don’t like to buy used gum from homeless children on the street. Yes, it’s true. I am sorry to say that Mom & Dad split up. Mom kept me, and Dad took Earl. I am now 25 years old, and have a family of my own. I haven’t seen Earl or Dad since that fateful day. I want more than anything to find Earl, and bring him back into our lives. Ever since he left, I truly have been half a person. So Kasey, I would love if you could play my song and dedicate it to Earl wherever he is.
Split in half in Oklahoma
Then, wiping tears from his eyes, Kasey would say… “Well Earl, wherever you are, this week’s long distance dedication goes out to you. Here’s Bruce Springsteen’s, Pink Cadillac”…
So consider this post my long distance dedication to my long lost Siamese Twin Earl. Without further ado, here’s another post about a car!
Not just any car. My first car. Well, if you discount the fact that my parents owned it and paid the insurance on it, listing me only as an occasional driver. (My Mother’s halo used to mysteriously disappear when it was time to pay the car insurance bills) This was no ordinary car. As I have mentioned before, it rivaled the U.S.S. Chester A. Nimitz in size and weight. There was so much steel in that baby that it had it’s own gravitational field.
Behold the 1972 Dodge Coronet!
We lovingly referred to it as the Tank. Dad bought it off some guy who lived out on the Batavia-Byron Rd. The body was in terrific shape, and it ran great. With the exception of a faulty water pump that limited the car’s range to about 10 miles before it would overheat. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have a sneaky suspicion that this was the feature that sold Dad on the car. A 10 miles radius wasn’t far enough for me to get into any serious trouble.
Luckily, it was far enough that I could make it to just about every dead end dirt road party spot in Genesee County. So other than that devastatingly fateful night at “the Top of the World”, it worked fine for my purposes. It’s ocean liner like steering, and Saturn V rocket-like throttle response took a little getting used to, but I figured it out. You just had to hold your foot down to the floor, and shake the wheel back and forth from 10 to 2 o’clock to keep it out of the ditch.
Aside from freedom from having to borrow the family minivan the Tank came with a back seat the size of a Queen size bed. No sitting in the GCC parking lot on a winter night, steaming up the windows in a Ford Escort with a stick shift sticking in your backside. (Unless of course you were into that sort of thing). No Ma’am, a night out with me in the Tank promised luxurious accommodations.
I also like to think that this was the thing that sold Dad on the car. (Looks up to heaven, flashes a thumbs up sign) Thanks Dad!
Looking back on those nights out in the country with a sweet smelling girl, umm… “studying astronomy” through the back window, all I can do is smile. At least until a right hook from Mrs. 20 Prospect wipes that misty look off my face. (Her right hook really is her best punch). It seemed so dangerous to us at the time, but looking back I am amazed at how tender and innocent we were. (No really, I mean it) I am also amazed at how lucky we were every time I read a story about a car full of kids dying in a car wreck.
So, at the risk of being a hypocrite, I just want to say, kids if you are reading this, DON’T DO WHAT I DID!
Seriously, when you are old enough to drive I am selling the minivan and buying the smallest subcompact car I can find.
Better start taking yoga classes.