Have you ever lost your car? A lot of people have done so. I am not alone in this.
Many years ago, when downtown was the only place in town to shop in Greenville, I went forth on a Christmas shopping expedition. I have never been very good at parallel parking, so I usually try to angle park or park on a corner where no one else can park either in front of or behind me. That way I have no one right up against my front or back bumper to pin me in place. I can either pull directly out, or back up a little and get out easily.
It didn’t take too long, by my definition, to finish the day’s shopping, and I made my way back to where I had parked my car on a corner in the first block of East Third Street. My car wasn’t there. I shook my head and looked again. I did not see my car.
First thought, no one would steal it! Second, it was in a perfectly legal parking place so it wasn’t towed. But, then where was it?
It was Christmas time so I had a lot on my mind. Perhaps I hadn’t parked there. With my arms full of packages I made my way down Broadway to East Fourth Street. I checked both sides of the street. No car for me. Next stop East Fifth Street. Still no car.
Even though I knew I had not walked downtown, it looked like I was going to walk home so I could get Bill’s car and drive up and down the streets until I found my car. It surely would be easier than walking with arms loaded with packages.
I headed back up Broadway, homeward bound. When I got back to Third Street, I looked again. I had both my eyes and my mind open, and I saw Bill’s car sitting right where I thought I had parked. I hadn’t really lost my car. I just forgot which car I drove.
As our children grew up and became car owners, we rented an empty lot next door to provide off-street parking. There was one driveway into the lot, and sometimes someone would just park in the driveway, especially when it was muddy in the lot.
We made a rule. Anyone who parked a car in our lot had to leave an extra key on the key holder inside. It was understood that if I needed to go somewhere and I was blocked in, I just took the last car in the driveway. That really tested my memory because I not only had to remember where I parked, but also which car I drove.
Surprisingly, none of the kids ever complained about the rule. But then, for the most part they never parked in the driveway. If they did get stuck in the mud in the lot, there was usually someone around to push them out.
The most memorable stuck-in-the-mud experience was when one of the girls had parked her brand new, but someone else’s well used little white Mustang in the lot during the rainy season. The harder she tried to get out, the deeper she got stuck in.
She summoned some of her brothers’ friends from the house to come out and help push. They approached the little car with confident macho. They ordered her to start it and they pushed mightily. The wheels whirled, and the car dug in deeper. The guys looked at each other, got a better hold on the car, and ordered her to start again as her brothers watched from the sidelines.
Meanwhile she had discovered the emergency brake was on, so she released it, and started again. The wheels spun, spraying mud over her knights’ shining armor as she waved thanks and drove off.
Some of those knights may be reading this and finding out for the first time why her brothers were laughing, and that it wasn’t their macho muscles that moved the car out of the mud that day
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate January 30, 2002.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.