It was a 1977 Cadillac Deville … my husband’s grandpa’s pride and joy. When Grandpa passed away, that beauty became ours.
Most of the time Grandpa’s Cadillac stayed safe and protected inside our garage. But every now and then, Curt felt the need to take it out for a cruise.
“Let’s go, we’re taking the Cadillac!” Curt held his breath, turned the key and vigorously pumped the gas pedal. The old car sputtered and coughed until finally coming to life with a roar so loud it could wake the neighbors. One by one, our girls made their way through the fog of exhaust and crawled into the backseat.
“Can we get ice cream?” Our youngest asked.
“Ice cream?” Curt had expected the question, but sounded shocked anyway. “My grandpa would never let us eat ice cream in this car. In fact, we couldn’t eat or drink anything. We couldn’t even chew gum in Grandpa’s Cadillac.”
“Geez, it’s just a car,” I said, grabbing my arm rest with both hands and pulling hard. Those big, beefy doors required some muscle to get them to shut.
“It wasn’t just a car to Grandpa,” Curt said.
And then it began. I could almost see the wheels of Curt’s memories starting to turn. That’s how I knew it wasn’t “just a car” to Curt either.
I’m not really a car buff. But I do love a good story. As I listened, I understood why this big old boat meant the world to my husband. It was a connection to his childhood – more specifically – a connection to his grandpa. This car was Curt's way of connecting special people from his past, with the people he loves in the present.
So Grandpa’s car stayed in our garage, taking up more than its share of space, never causing much trouble. Until one day when I was running late to meet Curt for lunch.
I hopped into the van and yanked on my door. As I put the van in reverse and began to back out, my door swung back open and smacked hard against the Cadillac.
A wave of nausea rolled through my stomach. Oh … no. I jumped out of the van to inspect the damage. A significant dent glared back at me.
My vision blurred as tears welled up in my eyes. Curt loved that old car – and I just ruined it. How could I have done something so dumb? The more I thought about it, the heavier my chest felt.
Should I cancel lunch? I decided not. I couldn’t carry this guilt. I had to tell Curt.
I pulled into the parking lot at Curt’s work and sent him a text. “I’m here.” He responded with his usual. “K.”
Within a few minutes, Curt walked out the front door, whistling. Ugh. Hello dear, I thought. Your wife is here to ruin your day.
As soon as he saw me he knew something was wrong.
By now I was covering my face and crying hysterically. Nearby, a couple of construction workers stopped filling potholes and looked over at us. No doubt they thought we were having some kind of domestic dispute. I was afraid we might.
Curt stood quietly, staring at me for a moment.
Then he did something totally unexpected and simply amazing. He put his arms around me, pulled me close and said, “Its okay. It’s just a car.”
I always knew my husband loved that car.
Fortunately for me, he loved me more.