By G. E. Shuman
I will soon be embarking on a great adventure; at least it is a great one from my perspective. Other people have certainly been on bigger adventures, but this one is going to be fun. I am not heading for the top of Mount Everest, (thankfully), or to the moon, (I wish), but what I am doing is going to be pretty exciting for me. Many times, I think, half of the fun of a big trip is in looking forward to it. It’s fantastic to wake up one day knowing that you will soon be at Disney World, taking a cruise, or visiting another country. For me, a camping and/or fishing trip is also something I look forward to a lot. As I said, the ‘looking forward to it’ part, is nearly as much fun as the actual trip.
The adventure that I am, at this point, very much looking forward to, is not to a theme park or to another country. It isn’t even to go fishing. It is also not a family vacation, although I wish my family could join me. My trip, near the end of April this year, will be to go south to pick up something that I bought way back last October. I have told many people about this purchase of mine, and probably have bored them to tears with the story. So, now it’s your turn. You get to be bored to tears with the story, and I probably don’t even know you.
You see, I have been talking about buying an antique, classic, Volkswagen Beetle, probably since you could buy one of those adorable little cars brand new. In fact, I know that is true. I fell in love with those cars when my grandfather purchased a new forest green one in the mid-1960’s, and again when my dad bought a brand new baby blue one in 1974. Believe it or not, I have since seen an exact duplicate of Dad’s VW, with zero miles on the odometer, in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Wow! Maybe I’m the one who is the antique.
For years, I wished I had purchased a beetle new, way back then, and just kept it, un-driven, until now. In the ‘60s the newspaper ads were selling them for $895, including delivery from Germany. Wow, again. Of course, I was a kid back then, earning a dollar and twenty five cents a week, mowing my parents’ lawn, so $895 might as well have been $89,000 to me. That’s the way life, (and inflation) is.
Ever since that long ago time, I have been occasionally watching for a really good deal on a really nice VW, and have come close to buying one or another of them a few times over the years. That was until last fall, when my keen-eyed mom, a vibrant woman in her (early) 90’s, spotted one in a Walmart parking lot near her home in Florida. She wrote the information down, and called me the very same night.
I soon perused the car, and it was a match made in heaven, or at least one made in Florida, which is close enough. After contacting the owners, who turned out to be fantastic people, and after agonizing over the decision for several weeks, I said ‘I do’ and purchased the bug, for real. Sometimes I still can’t believe I did that.
So, several weeks from now I will fly to the Sunshine State, visit my mom for a few days, and start the long and gentle journey home, behind the elderly wheel of my new, 46-year-old car. I can hardly wait! I have thought of, somehow, sending out alerts to family and friends, as I make my way up the country, sort of like the ‘Santa sightings’ that used to be done on local radio stations as the jolly old elf made his way across the country from the North Pole, on Christmas eve. Hopefully, THIS jolly old elf will find his way back up here without incident, (or accident), thanks to an iPhone and GPS, which Santa never had. I’m going to take notes and record comments from people along the way, and I promise to let you know how the trip went, in a future column.
I hope you weren’t too bored with the tale of my recent purchase, or of my plan to bring my baby home. Life is short, cute little antique cars are few, and we need to savor our great adventures, however they come to us.