Powder blue, automatic transmission, and cassette deck included, this car was the car of the times. In the year following our purchase, the number of K-Cars on the road became so large that I’d often pass the time on trips into town counting how many other Ks I could see. I think the record was something like 41 over the course of a 30 minute drive.
Once while leaving the shopping centre with my Mom we loaded our bags into the back seats, sat down and buckled up, before realizing that we were in someone else’s car. The key wouldn’t work in the ignition even though it unlocked the doors. As if we had just realized the car was about to explode, we bailed pretty quickly hoping no one, especially the owner, witnessed our blunder as we scrambled out and did our best to play it cool.
Years later I would have another K-Car experience in the very same parking lot with another of these powder blue beauties. I thought it was worth a mention as it has since been remembered as one of those moments where you realise that you’re not as young as you used to be. You know the kind. Like when you first noticed you could no longer drink beer all day and last until midnight or better yet, when you found yourself buying wine on purpose.
My friend Derick and I were out driving around one day and stopped to have a look at this collection of classic cars that was on display in the mall parking lot. I forget now but I think we heard about it on the radio moments before. Anyway, it was your usual car show with mostly hot rods and high-sitting pick-up trucks, hoods up, doors, open and their owners standing proudly by answering standard questions about body modifications and lift kits.
As we came to the end of a long line of vehicles, there was one that didn’t seem to fit the mold. Parked modestly next to a Trans Am or some other jerkmobile was a powder blue K, complete with its standard rear sloping suspension issues and sun-faded interior. The owner was a local eccentric who was an acquaintance of both Derick and I.
In keeping with my trade-mark foot-in-mouth-isms, I said something along the lines of, “You picked a funny place to park. Did you know there was a car show here today?”
I must mention that I’m notorious for saying before thinking. In fact, just a few days before I sat down to write this story I had congratulated a friend on his new job that he was actually turned down for. Mislead by a comment I read on a popular social networking site, I had assumed that he got the news he was hoping for but, I was wrong and had to suffer the embarrassment of another awkward situation.
The owner of the car corrected me by saying that his car, now over twenty years old was considered an antique to which he proudly displayed his membership certificate to the New Brunswick Antique Auto Club. What made the impact of this realisation even more dramatic was the way his backseat was cluttered with old magazines, grocery bags, and a snow shovel. Our automobiles were often in great need of a cleaning much like this one. On any given day you could find orange peels in the side door compartments, tea cups clinking together under the driver’s seat and from time to time, a collection of goat droppings, hay and wood shavings left behind from one of several animals Mom had picked up or delivered. Yes, we lived on a farm.
This was also the car that I decided to drive to town once, before gaining a driver’s licence. The details of this incident remain a bit cloudy. I all can remember was that Mom and Dad were away for the weekend and I really wanted to be in town for a party of some sort, so I more-or-less stole the car and drove in. Sadly, when my parents returned and saw their car missing they were a bit upset and I had to concoct some kind of lie as to how it got into town. In a way I’m kind of glad that I have blocked much of this story from my memory as just thinking about it now brings on that awkward feeling, like when you wake up from a dream and don’t want to fall back asleep because you know you were in some kind of trouble. When I think of my teenage years, that feeling is more or less the emotional soundtrack.