It was a lovely, lazy spring day. I was resting on the couch before the family came home. Our three older children were out of college, not living at home. Liz was a high school senior and Mark and Sara in third and fourth grade. All was right in our little world.
The doorbell rang. I opened the door. I could see beyond the uniformed driver that a big delivery truck was at the curb. ”Ma’m,” he said, “I have several big boxes to deliver. Where would you like them to be placed?” I looked at him in astonishment. “There has to be a mistake. You must have the wrong address.”
He showed me the receipt. There it was: G.V. Stanley and our address. I was dismayed!
“Well, my husband isn’t here. I guess you will have to go around and come up the alley and put them in the carport next to the VW.”
So the man did. After he left I called Glenn at his office, still thinking this was a big mistake. We never made any big purchases without consulting each other. Glenn answered, and I told him about the boxes. He sounded so excited. “Oh, great! I’ll leave the office early and be right there. I didn’t think it would arrive so soon.” Then he hung up before I could ask any questions.
The boxes were piled around our well-used Volkswagen in the carport. All of the kids had passed their drivers test with it. Glenn pulled up behind the mess. Before I could open my mouth he said, “Honey, I’m going to turn this into a Bradley GT.”
“A Bradley GT! Remember I showed you the catalog.” I had forgotten all about his casual mentioning such a project.
Thus it began. For what seemed like an eternity to the family, he spent every spare hour working on taking the VW apart, getting ready for the transformation. The neighborhood men were envious. They watched every step and were most happy to lend a hand when he needed help lifting the fiberglass body.
Screws were fastened, snaps were snapped. Finally Glenn called, “Diana, come take a look.”
There it was — a beautiful bright yellow sports car, ready for action. He was so happy and excited and proud. Everyone cheered. Then Glenn took it for a test drive around the block. I sat in the front seat and Mark and Sara in the back, and we took off on our first ride. What fun! We drove around our neighborhood, waving to everyone, then over through Encanto Park and Palmcroft, sun glaring, hair blowing. (It had a “top” but nothing was automatic. It had to be lifted onto the chassis, so it wasn’t used often.) All we needed were some celebratory balloons. Glenn was beaming all the way.
I never drove it. To me it was too open and unsafe. Mark and Sara tattled on Liz who drove them to her friend’s house to show off the car when we weren’t around to say “No.”
Someone suggested calling it “Dad’s Midlife Crisis.” I called it “My Rival.” Later I called it “Dad’s Menopause Car.” That name stuck.
The only problem with the car was Department of Public Safety considered it a sports car, so the insurance was very expensive and only Glenn could drive it. Which he did.
Happily, Glenn's moment of glory lasted only for a year or two; then he sold it.
This article originally appeared in Roadrunner Extra!, the resident newsletter of Beatitudes Campus.