Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Kingdom- a Road Trip

We lived 6 miles off the blacktop, a rural mind field of a dirt road that separated us from the rest of civilization. And I had to get to town!! I had to!! There was last minute shopping to do!! It was the week before Xmas and the driveway was a mess. My boys and I piled into the car and one was designated to direct traffic on the main road as we blasted, sideways, out onto the snow covered ice-laden uphill dirt road climb. Visions of being safely downtown pounding in our head, we careen, tires grasping for purchase on the steep climb. Halfway to the top the realization sets in that we’re not going to make it. I slam on the brakes and watch the front end swing around so we are at least facing forward as we begin our slide down the 45 degree slope completely, utterly, comically out of control. Confidently I survey the snow banks on each side hoping, that when, not if, I should slide off to one side or the other the shoveling would be in the 15 minute to half hour range. I had planned for that much of a delay—you have to do this – it’s all part of the Northeast Kingdom Travel Package.

 I had more than enough equipment and extra clothing in the trunk of the car to establish a homestead in 40 of the 48 continental states. In the Kingdom you pack the car for the trip to town-anything could happen-it’s the Kingdom, for Christ-sake.

Miraculously we fishtail to the bottom clinging to the surface of the road and each other. It all happens in about 2 minutes yet we feel as if we have returned from the brink, once again. The feeling of relief and pure elation is tempered by our hysteric self-conscience laughter. The Hill climb abandoned we head south, the long way to town, creeping around the guardrail-less sloped curves to W. Barnet and beyond. It’s the Kingdom—you adapt—not a word has been spoken—we have all been there before—Winter in the Kingdom.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Ford Granada

Not even back then would I have thought that a two-tone Ford of questionable worth was the true answer.  But the price was right- i.e. a trade, a handshake.  A “..don’t even try to question any problem you have down the road” proved to be the glue for this avenue on life’s crooked road.  

Sure, I could have pulled that pop-up trailer to Cape Cod and back with my two door Pinto but what would I do with the family.  I mean the savings would have been absorbed in the bus tickets needed to keep us together.  So the Ford proved to be the answer (stop-gap arguments aside).  And then after its splendid performance it became in time a footnote to our reality.  Maintenance notwithstanding, this was a friggin steal.  It was the largest car (American made) that I had ever owned.  The ride was smooth (albeit angst loaded)  solid and cheap.  

Did I mention cheap?  No payments- okay, okay:  brakes, transmission, and electrical problem aside I’m sure I kept payments under $350 a month.  (In 1985 by the way)  and it was never one lump sum, it was more like $90 per week until its demise.  The $50 cart-off fee was reasonable and not unappreciated.  So you see I had this beauty for 2-3 years for under 4 grand  (not a lot under)- What can I say?  

My only regret is that I didn’t keep the Volvo wagon (sans engine) and put some siding on it with a half-bath and live in it for the interior was roomy.  But it wasn’t a Ford and it wasn’t blue.