I have decided that enviro wackjobs are people in a pissy mood because they can’t afford to buy a 1970 Cadillac Eldorado. Mine is dubbed “The Glurgolator”. 500 cubic inches of fossil fuel guzzling engine built to do nothing more than haul my ass down the road at whatever speed I choose in style and comfort.
Built when exhausts had resonators. When people treasured the sound of a carburetor opening. When six miles per gallon was a status symbol. This is when she was born. This is where she got her name.
Now I have cars with bigger engines that have statistics that top hers. Some have doors that close with the push of a button and seats that embrace you when cornering. Cars that collectors swoon over that are garage princesses. Not my Glurgolator. She is built to be driven.
When she was new, she was the pinnacle of technology and opulence. Her owners fell in love with her lines and bought her despite the impractically of her two massive doors. They delighted when asked what her “8.2 Litre” badge meant.
Today the only heads she turns are over 50. They smile and recall begging dad to buy one for mom. When she is parked, they peek in the window to see if she was ordered with the automatic climate control. As the walk away their heads turn to catch one more glimpse. A brief escape into a pleasant childhood memory.
She was born wearing metallic silver with a black vinyl roof. And when she was taken for her restoration, I thought long and hard about changing that. But ultimately decided to have her put back to the original color. Her new leather is not worn and her seats have the spring that her original seats could no longer provide. Her carpet is a little more plush and a new moon roof was added. But she looks like the day she was born.
I never met her original owner until after her restoration. The owner of the restoration shop (Jeff) found her for me and picked her up on a flatbed. He told me about Mz Lilly, the original owner. Not sold under financial duress but caring for her aging machine and driving too many tons of steel became impractical for an elderly widow. Jeff suggested that I contact Mz Lilly.
And I am glad he did. It seems Mz Lilly wanted to sell the car but wanted her to go to a new home that would care for her. She contacted Jeff and asked him to find that owner.
The first call to Mz Lilly was not exactly what I thought it would be. Thinking I would call to ask a few questions about the car’s history, I was not expecting a Spanish Inquisition. After her questions about me she began to talk about the car. It became clear that this was not a machine but a car she loved because it was a gift from her husband. A gift bought at a time in their life when a Cadillac was not an inconsequential part of their budget. Not the car she wanted to drive. It was the car he wanted her to drive. And she loved the car for that reason.
Months later I get another e/mail from Jeff. This one was not about money or choices for the car. This one was to tell me that my Eldo was ready.
Jeff is anal. Anal retentive. All the best restoration shops are owned by anal retentive men. Jeff is a craftsman and hires craftsmen to work for him. Glurgolator was completely disassembled, cleaned, repaired or replaced and painted to perfection. Every door, hood and trunk gap is exactly 3/8 inch. Something Cadillac could not do in 1970. Even the gaps around her bumpers were tightened. Jeff deserves to be rich. I am reluctantly contributing toward that goal.
I have made my last drive from San Antonio to Dallas. But Jeff agreed to deliver the car to Dallas so we could show Mz Lilly the car. The plan was to take her to dinner so she could ride in the car again.
When in Dallas, our friend Mz Mac takes control. This trip was no exception. She made the plans for dinner and told us what to wear. I agreed (as if i had a choice) with the caveat that we do not discuss her funeral. Mz Mac has a new project that excites her like no other. Planning her funeral. The fact that she will be dead does not seem to curb her enthusiasm for the gala event. Something tells me that she will attend my funeral before I can attend hers. But I try not to dampen her joy of planning her funeral.
The deal was struck. She plans the dinner in exchange for one night of ixnay on the funeral plans. Nothing excites Mz Mac like a house full of “young people”. Her home is in an established, affluent area of Dallas and when she has a dinner to plan, both the house and Mz Mac return to their heyday.
Jeff and I were assigned the task of fetching Mz Lilly in the Glurgolator. I know the area of Dallas where Mz Lilly lives. An older area with modest homes. The small lots are worth a small fortune because of the location. The houses, not so much.
Meeting some people for the first time is awkward. That seems to be true for lots of people you meet but not Mz Lilly. She walked outside to meet us smiling from ear to ear. Her embrace was one of those that you get from lonely people who want to hold on just a little longer than your comfort zone allows. But I squeezed back as she thanked me for bringing the car for her to see.
I don’t know how long Jeff has known Mz Lilly. My impression was that they could be mother and son, with Mz Lilly listening attentively as Jeff explained what he did to restore the Glurgolator. When she sat inside and reached for the steering wheel with gnarled, arthritic hands, I had to walk away. Jeff’s pride in his work. Mz Lilly reliving memories. My eyes turning red.
Mz Lilly cruised the Eldo to Mz Mac’s home better than I could. Bench seats and a flat floor are something that is disconcerting to most of us. Our driver was right at home in the driver’s seat.
I’m not sure if Mz Mac is as stealthy as I think. Maybe things just work out for Mz Mac and it is complete coincidence. Every now and then her scheming shows. I saw it when she called out her seating order at dinner. I was given the place of honor at the opposite end of the table from where she held court with Tammy and Mz Lilly. When I’d see their heads turn to look at me I knew the plans were made and my role was to write the check.
Mz Mac does not allow me to drink Tab with a meal. Something about Tab leeching the lead from her crystal. Which might be true. It could only improve the taste if it did.
Tonight was not a Tab night. The tittering and glances from the far end of the table screamed “WINE”. And I embraced it.
Mz Mac reveals her plans when she wraps her arm around yours, lowers her voice and gently pulls you away from everyone. This was no exception. But I had a scheme of my own and planned to preempt her. Never works. Tonight was going to be different.
I told her that I decided to give the Glurgolator back to Mz Lilly. AHA! Beat her at her own game!
Or so I thought.
Mz Mac explained that the Glurgolator was impractical for Mz Lilly but “that cute little C-Class would be just perfect”. It was wonderful that I was offering to buy her one.
OK. Fifty grand plan was relatively inexpensive price for one of Mz Mac’s schemes.
If only it were that simple. She explained that “a few things” needed to be done around Mz Lilly’s house. To make it easy for me she would handle the plans with Mz Lilly and the ARCHITECT.
Wait. What are we talking here?
On the upside, Mz Lilly “has some really nice pieces” so Mz Mac will buy any new furniture needed. My part was to get her a PC, laptop, internet service, cell phone and a “cute little C-Class” with the color being my option. And write the check for the remodel of her house. Obviously there would be incidentals so I should expect some charges on the credit card.
Then comes the flattery about what a wonderful person I am. Which works. And pisses me off. Sigh.
Mz Mac, Mz Lilly and Tammy are now sharing the responsibility of “keeping us in line”. Mz Lilly taught math in her earlier years so Bry now has his own tutor via web cam.
What can we learn here?
This is what I walk away with. My heartfelt desire to piss off the enviro wackjobs cost me a shitload of money. But it also brought me a dear friend.
Thinking back on that dinner party, I bet that old woman was talking about her funeral plans at the distant end of the table. She was having far too much fun.
The Glurgolator is getting a sister. But this one will be black with a red interior. Can’t wait to hear her wheels scream as she slowly turns the corner into her new home. I wonder what adventures she will bring into my life.