So a combined Father’s Day and Fourth of July Story all in one this time.
It’s also another Saab Story…
I drive a 1968 Saab 96 Deluxe. It’s a car I’ve had for at least a decade now, and has been pretty good to me. It’s not a show car, it’s my daily driver. I take care of it mechanically, so it keeps me on the road, but it gets washed when it gets washed, and it gets cleaned out – well, at least annually. Sometimes more often, so it’s got the standard grunk that manages to accumulate in a car over time, and – well, it’s just used.
This day my son and I strapped the bike rack to the trunk of the car, strapped our two bikes on that, and headed down to my mom’s for the fourth of July. She lives in a small town where if you want to see the fireworks, you go to the center of town and just watch, and when you do, you don’t have to sit so far away that you look out to see them. You lay on the ground and look straight up at them.
It’s very, very cool.
And while there’s what one could call a “show” – you can also bring your own fireworks, so my son and I stopped in Puyallup on the way down to make sure we could be armed appropriately, so to speak.
We stopped at one of the Indian Reservation fireworks stands they have in the area and, given that it was the Fourth of July already, they were having what one might call a ‘fire sale’ – they wanted to get rid of stuff fast, so we ended up with about twice as much as we were expecting. We were happy.
We kept driving, on a road we didn’t drive often, right through Puyallup, and there’s a railroad crossing right in the middle of town that was quite a bit rougher than I was prepared for, so I went over it a little faster than I should have, and with the bikes cantilevered out and attached pretty firmly to the rack, the movement of the bike rack bounced them up and down pretty hard, and popped the bottom two straps off, so instead of having the bike rack attached to the car, it was now just hanging there.
We knew what we had to do, so we pulled over and stopped at the very first place we could, both jumping out to make sure the rack was strapped down tight.
Now traffic that day had been pretty busy up to that point, we were driving south, in July, and while happy with our purchases, were looking forward to getting to mom’s so we could get out of the car and cool down. Anyone having driven one of these things knows they don’t like being stuck in traffic, and we’d occasionally have to turn the heater on to help cool the engine down, so mentally we were happy, physically, we were not.
In fact, physically we were just hot, wanted to get the bikes back on the car, and then just get the car back on the road.
We were absolutely not prepared for what came next. You see, this is my Saab… I’ve had it, as I said, for about a decade… the one before that, I had for almost two decades. The one before that, I had for a couple of years, and the one before that was a ’67 96 2 stroke, and the one before that, I still have (it’s a ’65 95 stroker, there’s some stories coming about that one later) – and my dad had a ’66 96 when we were kids.
Needless to say, I’m familiar with the vehicle. It’s… my car….
So while we were pulled over, just across the street from what appeared to be a restaurant, strapping things down, there was a lull in the traffic, and we heard this astonished female voice (attached to an astonishingly attractive female) rushing out to us, “Oh, your car, it’s so CUUUUUUTE!!!! Can I LOOK at it?”
Michael and I glanced at each other. She sounded just like Rudolph…. But we were on a public street, what were we going to do, say no?
“No… the car’s too cute for you… you’re not allowed to look at it… go back to your restaurant and finish your meal.”
That wasn’t going to work…
We kind of shrugged our shoulders and finished strapping things down, checking tension, making sure nothing was messed up, while she just gushed all over the car about how cute and adorable it was.
We were still a little warm, and just wanted to get off to Mom’s, where we could ride our bikes or blow stuff up – whichever worked, so we politely said our goodbyes and left her standing there in the road as we drove off.
Michael was quiet for several blocks, and then, looking at the car in a whole new light, said in a quote worthy of Will Smith, “Man, I have GOT to get me one o’ these things!”
In time, son…