Have you ever ridden in the rumble seat of a 1930 Ford Model A? For a ten year old, almost nothing is more exhilarating.
When I was a kid, our neighbor owned a tree farm. Neat rows of shrubs, pine, willow, and birch trees stretched for a quarter mile from the edge of his yard, creating a miniature forest in the midst of miles of cow pastures. Narrow lanes lined the perimeter of the nursery, and one or two paths cut through the center, allowing easy access to all the trees.
Uncle Jack, as everyone called him, was my best friend’s uncle. He and his mother lived in a ranch house close to the road, built there I’m sure so there would be more room for trees. Because Lisa’s grandmother lived there, she and her brother Johnny spent a lot of time there. Because this was right next door, I spent a lot of time there, too.
Most of the time, we played all sorts of typical kid games. But on certain days, beautiful sunny days that were clear and warm, we went out in the Model A. Uncle Jack’s 1930 Ford Model A was stored in the back of the garage under a musty brown tarp. Johnny, who was two years older, loved to drive this car around the nursery and Lisa and I loved to ride with him.
The blue paint was faded, and the seats were hard and cracked, but we didn’t care. To us, this old car was a chariot that whisked us away to adventure. As soon as the car was out of the garage, Lisa and I scrambled up into the tiny seat that appeared like magic from where the trunk should have been. Then we were off along the the pathways between the trees.
I’m sure we never went more than 20 or 30 miles per hour, and maybe we didn’t even go that fast. Of course the lanes were rutted and uneven. But bouncing over the bumps was part of the thrill. And what a thrill it was to be riding along with the wind in our hair, the sun on our faces, and not a care in the world.
It’s almost unimaginable to me now that we were allowed this kind of freedom, to be driven around by a twelve or thirteen year old! Yet we never had a mishap of any kind and no one ever got hurt.
Soon enough, we outgrew the Model A and our afternoon drives. We were off on adventures beyond the boundaries of the nursery. But we carried away fond memories of those joyous days, cruising along those tree-lined lanes.
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