RIP GTO My father was in a bad car wreck a few days ago. He was visiting family in Virginia, driving in the mountains.
They're still not sure what happened, a tire blew out or an axle broke. The car left the road, got airborne, flipped and landed upside down on a pile of rocks.
My dad is not hurt. (so he says, I told my mom, he's got to go to the hospital to get checked out, the adrynaline and all might mask. . . . "no", she says "he won't go, he claims he's fine").
Amazingly (A-MAZingly) he walked away from that accident, having suffered only a strained leg muscle, (from kicking out the window, to get out as quickly as possible- for fear the thing would blow up).
He's got a birthday coming up this month, he'll be, I believe, 66.
His was white, with black interior, a jazzy red detail stripe running along the side. He'd recently replaced the headliner he'd replaced 20/25 years ago, when he'd first resurrected this car.
This past Christmas, he'd taken the kids for rides around the block. Usually the car is not driven, it would have sat in the garage, and every time you passed it, you'd give it a wide berth (to breath and kick up dust and somehow scratch that beautiful paint job- oh, no.)
A ride for the grand kids, was a big, big thing. On happy occasions and for special visitors, you might be fortunate enough to get to hear him start the engine, (hear that deep "blub, blub, blub"- a heavy breathing animal sound, and then he might rev the engine a little, just so you'd know the sound the car really wanted to make. You might be invited to sit in the car to hear how it sounds from inside, sliding on those shiny, well polished seats- you could admire the clever design/placement of the many "chicken bars"- handles designed to be reached for and grabbed, in hilarious panic. . . which you remember from that one time, he took you and some of the other kids out, and found a quiet straight country road and said "HOLD ON NOW!, I'M GOING TO OPEN HER UP!
When you first get news of an accident like this, you do a lot of "oh, my God!". Was he hurt? Was anyone else?
Then there's "what happened?" and also what didn't.
Not speeding, can you believe it? On those winding mountain roads he's so comfortable driving, in that car that wants to go fast. A woman who'd been following him for several miles and stopped after the accident, insisted on staying to speak to the Highway Patrol, to vouch for the fact, he'd been doing nothing wrong.
And he was wearing his seat belt, too. Can you believe it? Of course, it was just that a lap belt, he almost never bothered with. At one point he was hanging upside down . . .
Then there's what might have happened. Earlier that morning he'd driven his 81 year old Aunt Ruth to the cannery. . . . the kids at Christmas.
And then you get around to mourning the car.
"Ohhh, and that beautiful car. Totaled. Your poor father . . ."
"Is dad really upset about it?", I ask her.
"Well, I'm sure he is, although he's more upset about what could have happened . . . Aunt Ruth, the kids at Christmas"