I believe in time machines.
Memories are sometimes brought back by songs we hear, or by a
picture we’ll see in an old scrapbook. Sometimes it’s a beautiful
sunset which will pull us back into the fog of memory and allow us
to see clearly that which happened in our pasts. All of us have
many sorts of “triggers” like this and I’m no exception. This is
the story of my favorite trigger, an old purple XKE,
I’ll often pass a warm summer’s evening in the garage. Tweety’s in
the midst of a total cosmetic restoration, with his interior
completely stripped out, all the glass and trim off, but with major
bodywork now done and close to a final layer of primer just before
it gets his new coat of purple paint. I sit in the remaining bucket
seat, covered in old, white Naugahyde. I sit. I look. I think. I
I look at the dash and the myriad switches and gauges…I’ll dry
shift the clunky Moss gearbox, fantasizing of the days I’ll be
driving it again, and get caught up in a reverie, remembering the
miles I’ve covered in Tweety and the years past, in both the
driver’s and passenger’s seat…
Tweety was technically both my parents, though unofficially it was
Mom’s car. That’s why it ended up painted bright purple, with tuck-
n-roll white Naugahyde interior, complete with purple shag carpet.
Mom had a *unique* sense of style and this old Jag was but one of
the many outrageous ways she expressed it! The strongest memories I
have, though, are the times I was in it with my Dad. What follows
is a loosely organized reminiscence, so bear with me!
Dad and I drove Tweets to Dad’s 50th high school reunion in 1983,
in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. It was a beautiful July 4th weekend, not
too warm, on wide-open roads where the old Jag could cruise at his
customary 100-ish MPH, and Dad I talked, yelled, really, over the
not-so-muted roar of the big six-cylinder engine, enjoying the
miles as they slipped away effortlessly.
I thought about the time in the mid-60s when Dad drove us up
to Caribou, in a car that was NOT iontrended for off-road use!
Caribou is a ghost mining town at 10,000 feet and up a not-good
Jeep road…in the process of this wondrous father-son day we ripped off the exhaust system, one of THREE times it happened while I was in the car!
I remember seeing Dad race the car at CDR, a track south of Denver.
I remember it getting rear-ended in 1967, as Dad was running parts
errands: Memorable because I was, as often I did with Dad, riding shotgun in the Jaguar.
I remember so much sitting in that seat, as if contact with the car
plugs me into reruns of my life, of the times I spent so joyously,
blessed with parents as different to other parents as that Jaguar
was to other cars on the road.
As I sit in the seat, I realize this is much more to me than an old
sports car: It’s a time machine, taking me back to days and
experiences long in the past.
I believe in the magic this old sports car contains, and I believe my parents will be with me, as I drive it for REAL this coming summer…