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The Blue Chevy [revisted]

November 6, 2022

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Drive

The Blue Chevy [revisted]

My uncle Victor gave me a car one day for no reason. 

Since his stroke three years ago he’d occasionally call and ask me if I could help him with things around the house. Chores he couldn’t do anymore, small things, like mowing the lawn, changing a light bulb on occasion, pick up something at the store on my way home from school. Like I said, small stuff.

As he was talking about the car he just gave me I wondered if maybe my doing things for him was his reason for giving it to me rather than giving it to one of his children, but I never did find that out. In truth I never minded helping him because my uncle Victor was a nice guy. He had stories that were more interesting than my other uncle and a lot more interesting than my two aunts, and he never said anything when I’d sneak a sip of his beer. He also called me John when everyone else was still calling me Johnny. This was all before his stroke. It was a small stroke they said, and he didn’t drink beer now, and he didn’t talk very much. Or drive. I never helped him after the stroke because I thought about getting something in return from him. I just helped because— because it’s what you do.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was raking leaves from his back yard when he gave me the car. It wasn’t my birthday, Christmas, or any special day. He just walked over and told to follow him because he had something for me. We walked around to the front of the garage, him going slow and me keeping the pace, and he pointed to his car parked in the driveway and said, “That’s for you, John.”

“What’s for me?” I asked.

“My car. I’m not using it anymore and I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather see drive it. I want you to have it.”

When I asked him why he was just up and giving me his car for no reason, he smiled his crooked smile and said, “Just because.” He wouldn’t say any more about it other than to, “Drive her in good health and take good care of her.” I didn’t know what to say and was afraid to say what I was feeling so I looked away from him and focused on the car and reassured him that I would always take care of it. “Thank you,” I said with more emotion than I’d felt in a long time.

The car was a sapphire blue 1959 Chevrolet Brookwood station wagon. It had some miles on it but that’s to be expected with a 14-year-old car. The tires were good, the windshield held no cracks, the wood grain dash was in one piece, and the vinyl seats were time-worn, but they weren’t torn or frayed. I fell in love with the car while Uncle Victor stood behind me with his good hand on my shoulder.

The car had bench seats that would seat three in the front and three in the back and there was a fold down bench of rear-facing seats. I couldn’t think of any reason I’d ever have more than four people in the car, but those rear-facing seats held good memories of me and my cousins and those memories made me smile.

Uncle Victor opened the driver’s door and ushered me inside and shut the door. I rolled down the window and he leaned in and gave me the keys and the title. He reminded me once more to take good care of her and then he turned and walked back toward the house. I yelled out a question, but he didn’t turn around. He just raised his good hand in the air and waved.

The first thing I did when I got home was wash my new car. I worked my way back from the hood and when I got to the rear quarter panels, I noticed some rust peeking out from behind the dirt just above the wheel wells. I scrubbed the dirt away, but I washed softly over the rust, and I was sure to dry those quarter panels especially well. I was taking good care of her. 


#Ragtag Daily Prompt, #RDP, #NaBloPoMo 

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 6, 2022 2:01 pm

    We were Chevy people growing up in NJ.

    Liked by 1 person

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