On the Road Again, Nelson!

I used to drive with the window down, my left arm resting on the door. Never had air conditioning in those days. Summer or winter, the rolled down window was all there was.

Always had a cassette player, though, so I could blast the Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Buffet, the Crusaders, Weather Report, Bonnie Raitt, or whatever else I was listening to at the time and sing along.

I hear your voice everywhere

It’s echoes of love

Making me look back over my shoulder

Echoes of love are started all over.

Something like 30 years ago, I had a teeny, white Renault. Never went very fast, even going downhill. Got blown around a lot by big trucks on the freeway. In their rearview mirrors, I could see the drivers laughing as they passed. I guess they didn’t see many Renaults in North Carolina. Could also have been because I had a license plate that said “SLUG.” Or maybe it was because you didn’t often see big guys like me driving little cars they could barely fit into.

I suppose I should have given them the benefit of the doubt.

One winter night in Philadelphia, I was stopped at a red light. The guy next to me motioned for me to roll down my window. He leaned over and yelled, “Hey, brother, they build that car around you?”

The light turned green and he took off laughing.

It was a honey of a car, though. Still maybe the best I’ve ever had. Reliable. Great gas milage. Easy to work on. Once replaced the gas tank by myself; wouldn’t dream of even trying it with my current car. Couldn’t go fast, but it did make it cross-country more than once, packed floor to ceiling with all my worldly possessions. Truth is, I’d probably still have it if it wasn’t totaled by a drunk driver one night. I saw it for the last time, there amidst the auto ghosts on Pier 40, where they towed it after the accident.

Folded up like a little, white, French accordion, my hand to God.

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