LDS African Missionaries/Missionaries in Zion (Missouri)
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The car, or the girl?
Greg's mission photo
When I left on my first mission in 1971 (that sounds a little like Elder LeGrande Richards--who most of you have never heard of--but he was an apostle that went on, like 100 missions and I met him on mine) I faced two challenges: leaving my girlfriend and leaving my car.
For a teenage boy, a car and a girl are almost the same, and if he was water-boarded and torchered, he might admit that he loved the car more than the girl. In my case, they were inseparably connected in my mind because I used the car to help me with the girl. Having a nice car was not essential, but it helped.
1964 Ford Faclcon 289 V-8
My car was pretty cool. It had a bench seat but a stick shift "on the floor" and it did not have seat belts (imagine that you mothers with extensive child restraining and imagination hindering apparatus--OK, just kidding). I polished the vinyl seats with Lemon Pledge, which not only made the car smell good, but made the seats very slippery. Thus, I could move my girl either closer to me or away (why would I want to do that!) with just a sharp turn of the steering wheel.
We were (are) SO Cute!
Today, we all have our own seats, and seat belts, and we all know our place, but in those days the girl's place was sitting as close to the boy as possible. Often, Debi had to shift the gears for me because my right arm was busy holding onto her so she would not slip away.
Speaking of slipping away, both Debi and my car slipped away. Actually, I was the one who slipped, or flew away to Alabama-Florida. I missed them both. I did not sell Debi or turn her over to anyone else to maintain. But,with my car it was different. I reasoned that if I tried to keep my car, Wayne would wreck it while I was gone (he actually did wreck almost all of the other family cars). So I sold my car. I can still feel the pain as some other teenage boy drove away in "my car".
Final kiss at the airport
I can also remember the pain as I left Debi. But, in the end, some other teenage boy did not drive away with her!
This go around, we are putting our cars in storage and I am taking the girl with me. Debi secretly is hoping for periodic transfers and changes of companions, but I feel pretty sure she will be my companion for the entire mission and "to infinity and beyond". Oh, the joy.
2005 Ford Mustang GT
One more thing, I am not telling Wayne where the keys are located.