Hanging out with friends late, late, late the other night, dim music on in the background, splayed haphazardly on a fat, squishy couch, my brother-in-law Dee suddenly started waxing nostalgic about his family’s big, old 1991 white Chevy Suburban.
He just broke into it, too.
“That monster seated nine people, I swear to you. Honestly, nine! There was a bench in the back, a bench in the middle, and a bench in the front. I remember when my parents bought it I said ‘Why not get the captain’s chairs in the front?’, and they were like ‘No, that’s just not practical.’ But I guess the benches did come in handy. My dad used to drive our entire baseball team around — that’s fourteen twelve-year-olds wedged in tight and twisted. I mean, we referred to it as The Team Tank. … Honestly man, I miss that old beast.”
His wistful, late-night rambles got me thinking.
For my sister Nina and I, nothing would beat sitting in the backseat of our old 1984 Pontiac Station Wagon with brown paint, brown interior, and a classy fake wood trim on the outside. The backseat in this Logmobile was about eight feet away from the driver, but a world apart really. You could talk and play games out of earshot, all the while looking and laughing straight out the back window, distracting the people behind you on the highway.
In the summer the metal belt buckles would grow red-hot and scald your skin when you tried to buckle up. The cup holders were always full of sticky remains from the half-dozen spilled Cokes that were never fully sponged up by the handful of McDonald’s napkins stuffed in there. The A/C was temperamental, the windows wouldn’t roll down all the way, and there were no DVD players entertaining you, no GPS voices guiding you. You’d just clamp up, invent your own fun, and sit patiently on the dark, fabric seats, deeply stained from that time somebody sat on a banana.
Whatever it was, I bet it sure does give you a trip down memory lane when you see the car you grew up in, the same color, the same style, the same model, just driving around town like nobody’s business. Or maybe just fixed up real pretty at an antique car show. Or maybe just calmly coasting on cruise through your brain once in a while.
For old time’s sake.