Den of the Beastly Bear
Some guys and I were talking at work tonight about first loves...
Tom told me about his, how when he first laid eyes on that body he was transfixed!
Matt told me of the way his made him feel, she excited him like nothing ever had!
I had to tell them how mine got away...and how it made me sick to my stomach! Angry and hurt, and I never got over it...
Let me tell you how we met.
After my car accident, I was driving a 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger in Olive Drab paint...imagine if an army tank slept with Grandma's sedan, their offspring would have been that car. With a 1 barrel, 198 c.i. slant-six it couldn't get out of it's own way! We paid $50 for it, from a guy whose Mother was too old to drive...yeah, it was one of those.
Embarrassed of my crappy car, I wasn't dating much...
A guy my Mother worked with, said he knew a gal that would be perfect for me, and she should bring me over to meet her. He told my mother of her unsurpassed beauty, classy and mild mannered...a perfect match for a young man. Mom asked if I was interested...
When the day arrived I was excited, I couldn't believe my luck...ladies like her were few and far between. Normally out of my league, I couldn't believe I had a chance with her...
As we pulled into the driveway he came out of the house to greet us, he told us she was in the barn with the horses and he'd take us out to meet her.
We entered the barn, which was dimly lit...shafts of light showing swirling dust motes, and smelling of clean hay.
He led us around a corner and there she was...the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in all my 17 years!
A 1974 black on black Pontiac Firebird Formula!
Oh My God!!! I was in Love!!!
My Mom didn't know a lot about cars, she told me it was this fellows wife's car. She didn't like the normal hood so he'd gotten a fiberglass hood in an "L Eight Eighty" style she told me. I could see now it was in fact an L88 style hood, like on hot rod Corvettes!
He'd removed the original exhaust and replaced it with 4" flat black sidepipes that ended just before the rear tires. He'd also replaced the standard gearshift with a Hurst short throw shifter, on the 4-speed manual tranny. My Mom couldn't remember what size engine was in it "but it ends in two letters, like O.H., or H.D. or maybe H.O....
When I popped the hood, it was in fact a 455 c.i. H.O. (high output for you non-car folks) that he'd dressed up with chromed valve covers, chromed air filter housing, even a chromed master cylinder cover!!!
His wife wanted a new car, and he was willing to make us a deal on this one, for $3,700.00! Quite a bit of money for a guy with a $3.75 an hour job, but if Mom would co-sign a loan...
Oh MAN, I'd be the King of my High School!!!!
"Whadya think?" he asked...as if he didn't know.
"She's a beaut!" I said "can we start'er up?"
"Sure," he said and tossed me the keys.
Herein lay the problem, while I knew in theory how to drive a stick at that time I'd never actually driven one.
But I DID know how to start it!
As I pushed in the clutch and moved the shifter to neutral, he told me:
"Put in a competition clutch too, when it needed a new one, higher lift cams and a 750 cfm double pumper carb...she drives and shifts like a dream..."
I turned the key and she rumbled to life, and I couldn't keep the grin off my face...
"I don't know what all that means," Mom said "but I think he likes it!"
"I do Ma, I really do!!! Can we get it?!? Please?" I begged, yes I begged! I'm not too proud to admit it.
"We haven't even driven it yet, and you don't know how...I'll take it for a drive to make sure it drives OK, and everything works..."
"There's not a thing wrong with this car, I wouldn't do that to you..." My ally told her.
"Still, I'll feel better if I drive it first...to be sure." Mom said.
"OK, let me get the door...I got some other goodies I'll let you guys have, I'll show your son what all I've got until you get back. I got receipts and service records, the original window sticker...all kinds of stuff."
He began the "show and tell" as Mom eased her out of the barn, down the driveway and out into the street. Oh what a sound she made as she accelerated down the street.
I was collecting quite a bit of loot as Mom pulled back in the driveway some 15 mins. later.
I knew something was amiss as soon as she got out of the car...
She held the keys out to her friend, and he put out a palm to accept them.
"Well?" He said "nice ride huh?!?"
She looked past him, to me...looked back at him, in the the eye and slowly said:
"No...Fucking...Way! No Fucking Way you're selling him that car!!!"
I was stunned...I'd never heard my Mother use the "F word" in anything less than in the peak of utmost anger before...never conversationally!!!
"Why not? What's wrong with it?" I asked
"You'll kill yourself in that car...or worse yet, someone else! That car is WAY too fast for you...and YOU, " she said rounding on the owner "you should have your fucking head examined for trying to sell that, that... BEAST to a 17 year old boy!!!"
With that, she turned on her heel and marched back to our car...
He looked at me "Sorry chief, looks like that's a no sale" he said, and shook my hand.
And that was the last time I saw her...I loved her, and lost her, before she was even mine...and I was sick over it!
I've never forgotten her...even now, some 34 years later I can still see her sitting there, a black beauty beckoning me to a life of thrills and adventure!!!
It's true, you never forget your first love...
Be Well Folks!!!