When the Carpenter picked me up on our first date, he was driving a 1986 silver Oldsmobile Cutlass.
It was his pride and joy. His first car. It was a big deal for a small-town boy having moved to the big city to have his own wheels. It was status. It was more than a car; it was an extension of him.
That was 28 years ago. This week, I saw that same look in his eyes when he got his new vehicle.
Of course, true to my nature, on that first date I insulted his car. It was a test, really. Look, if this guy had any chance of being “the one,” he was going to have to be able to take a joke.
What can I say? I wasn’t like the other girls. I had a real love for cars and thus, opinions on them, too. How someone takes a direct hit to their ego speaks volumes.
Would he flip out? Date over. Would he laugh and ask me what I drove, to take a shot back at me? Game on (I didn’t even own a car). Verbal sparring was romantic flirting. Some things never change.
So, I jumped in, he put it in drive and that put in gear the best and last first date of our lives. Windows down, tunes turned up and the open road took two kids on an adventure that felt exactly the way forever was supposed to (in a GM no less). Cut to present day. In the middle of a pandemic and with a child heading to college in the fall, the Carpenter decided to change gears in his work. It was time, for all the right reasons, but as we all know, change is messy.
Years of driving a work vehicle with a company gas card came to a screeching halt. In a week we had to put wheels in motion to get him a new vehicle that could handle long commutes, lots of tools, had good gas mileage and came in under budget. Ha, read that line again. Under budget. Snort. I’m laughing so hard, I can’t type. Hold on. Gasp. Like we have a budget (wipes tears from eyes).
Car shopping was easy. Our neighbour, Dave, works at Reliable Ford. He and his wife have been awesome to our family. He’s helped plow the driveway during storms, we’ve celebrated milestones with his family, and there is always a chair and good gossip session on his front porch any time I need it. Good guy. Plus, Reliable Ford hosts my father’s Fergus Lions toy drive every year in support of the Centre Wellington Food Bank.
It was easy to support local when you know you’re supporting your community too. It matters.
The Carpenter and I are older and wiser, too. Cars aren’t so much status as they are necessity. We kept it real and got the Carpenter a small pickup truck that has everything he wanted and nothing he didn’t need.
We’re doing our best to live within our means, whatever that means. Seeing my hardworking spouse get something shiny and new was worth it. He deserves the best. Big changes. New beginnings. Fresh start.
Of course, old habits die hard, so jokes about how size matters broke out the minute he drove that small truck off the lot. Rest assured, karma got me, folks. I drive a hatchback with rust spots. Doesn’t matter.
I’m still enjoying the ride of that best and last first date and we’ve got miles to go.