Several years ago I told a patient of mine that my favorite car growing up was the Mustang. We lived in Columbus, Georgia in the 60’s and remember as if it were yesterday the day the Mustang came out. I was in third grade, we’d never seen anything like it. We had a game, “spot the Mustang” and the various colors had assigned points- gold being the most valued. One day the guy, Mr. Thurmond, shows up unannounced and the receptionist tells me there someone there to see me. I had mentioned the mustang probably three years previously. “Dr. McHugh, I have something I want to show you.” We step out into the parking lot and there it is, a 1965 red convertible Mustang in mint condition. “I bought from a little ole lady in South Carolina whose husband owned it and she’s tired of changing the battery. I got it at a good price for you. If you want it you can have it for what I paid. If you don’t want it, I’ll keep it. Ran a magnet over it, there aren’t any spots with bonding, it hasn’t been in a wreck. Used it in a parade last week and it ran cool and as smooth as silk.” I was stunned and immediately overwhelmed with emotion. The last time my family was in Columbus my father just showed up on evening and said, ” We’re moving to Atlanta” and it seemed to me we left the next day. A couple of years later he had moved off with another women and left his five boys and my mother behind. And then I thought about my brother Bob and I in the back seat of my mother’s Ford Falcon watching for Mustangs in downtown Columbus. He and I “waited in the car” a lot back in those days. Then a story my mother told me about Rockerfeller came to mind. It had to do with him selling one of his yachts and a man had come to see if he wanted to buy it. After looking at the “boat” the man asks Rockerfeller, ” How much do you want for it?” After a pause, Rockerfeller said, ” Sir, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Good day.” My mother loved strong men who wielded power that was understood and unspoken, like Sinatra, or a MacArthur.
So I am looking at this car, there was no reason to ask, “How much?” To me that would have been an insult to Mr. Thurmond, a man I knew to be of means and integrity and had done me a favor. He has seen my love of the car apparently in our discussion years earlier. ” May, I ask my wife?” ” Why sure, let me know in a couple of days.” I call my wife and she immediately says, “Get it John. You don’t do anything fun. It will be fun.” I got it and paid for it what Mr. Thurmond paid for it. “All I want Dr. McHugh is to use it from time to time in parades, is that fair?” ” It’s a deal,” I said.
So I am working on the previous post and am having trouble with it because I don’t want to use names in these posts anymore. Names mean things to people and something you might say may come across wrongly and hurt someone. I actually spent along time on the previous post trying to fair and appropriate. In the midst of this, I often times write at the cabin we have on Lake Lanier, up pulls my daughter Bess and one of her and my favorite friends, Elenor and her dog Bear. I went out to speak and saw what I thought would be a picture that could be on a calendar. I couldn’t catch Bear, he kept popping up and down and I missed him in the picture but he’s there in the back seat.
I seldom ride in that car. I love lending it to people for parades. My Urology practice buys the little footballs with the school logo on it for whoever borrows it to throw out, don’t you love the little footballs they throw out? Have you ever fought over one with another spectator? I have, ” John, that is the most embarrassed I believe I have ever been with you” my wife said after I won a wrestling match with a sixth grader to get one at a high school football game at Gainesville High.
I just love the car, the smell, the look, playing the Beach Boys in it, particularly “Good Vibrations” or “Darlin”, the 289 engine, the sounds, and of course that it is a convertible. We have never had a convertible. Not much here about prostate cancer. Just showing off my beautiful…….car? Okay… Bessie and Ellie are pretty cute too.