Between You and Me
By Deana Foster
I grew up with a dad who was an auto mechanic, and he taught me the basics of auto maintenance. By the time I arrived at college, I could change my oil and a flat tire, if necessary. I knew the difference between a wrench and pliers; a flat head and a Phillips head screwdriver; and I carried my own small toolbox in my trunk. I never had a new car and most of the cars I drove looked bad… really bad, but they always drove and ran pretty well, even if there was a hole in the floorboard on the driver’s side. Heck, I just covered it up with a rubber floor mat.
I bought my first car when I was 16, with money I had saved waiting tables. I couldn’t afford much but my dad found me a “reliable” car. I was so excited to see it and was very disappointed when we pulled into the seller’s driveway to find a very big and old green 1951 Chevy Bel-Air Coup. It had a manual transmission people called “Three on the Tree,” because the shifter was on the steering column; huge bench seats and a radio; well, straight from the 1950s! My heart dropped, but my dad convinced me that it would be a great car for me in high school. I wasn’t so sure about that, but I did like the price, so he drove it to a place I could practice shifting and by the end of the day, I was able to drive it home.
The first day I drove it into the school parking lot, the difference in my choice of cars compared to my fellow students’ was painfully obvious. One of my friends’ parents had bought her a very cool 1960s era Camaro. Another had an early 70s style Mustang. Yet another had a groovy orange Volkswagen Bug. Here I pulled in with a massive and very slow “Green Turtle,” and I was afraid they would tease me to death. Surprisingly, they LOVED the monster and it soon became the “go to” car for our traveling escapades. Why you may ask?
First, it was because those long bench seats could hold a LOT of people across them. You might remember that this was a time when seat belts were not required to be worn, so we took advantage of stuffing as many people into that car as we could. Second, the trunk was also very big and in the years of drive-in movies, that meant more people got in for… free, because you paid one price for a car load of people. We would pay, pull through to a parking space far from the gate (and in the dark) and eight or nine people would fall out of the car. Then we would go around to the trunk to release another three or four. (Sorry mom!) Many good times and good memories were had in that car.
So though I wasn’t sure this car would be the right one for me, my dad had known. He also knew (but of course didn’t tell me) that it wouldn’t go faster than 60 miles per hour, and that was with my foot to the floor… which meant that I wouldn’t be getting speeding tickets or tempted to race. The car was made of heavy steel so if I got into a fender bender, I would be protected… that couldn’t be said for some of the cars I hit (sorry again mom!). The car’s motor was relatively simple and I was able to learn the basics of care. The parts of the motor were pretty easy to find and were relatively easy on my wallet. Though not obvious to me, he KNEW and later I figured out, that this was his way of taking care and protecting me.
Of course, it wasn’t obvious the day I stood with my hard earned cash in my hand trying to make up my mind about the “big green turtle.” I waivered and was afraid I was making a huge mistake, but he knew and convinced me it was going to be great… and it was.
Sometimes we do things that are obviously to protect others. Sometimes, we do things that take a while to show results. Over the next few years, your Board is going to be making decisions to protect you and to protect the organization. It may be something obvious, like trademark infringements to protect our name, or may not be as obvious, like the latest decision to eliminate the paper copy of the membership directory. The Board made this decision for several reasons, but the most important ones are first, it saves the organization money during a time when our budget is super-duper tight and second, members have been requesting a digital copy that they can put on their phones. As it usually goes with all of our decisions, it wasn’t easy and we went back and forth several times, but decide we did and here we go bravely into the digital world. You will be able to get your copy from the WOW website, after you log into the Members Only area.
So sometimes the Board has to act like my dad and we as members have to believe that it will all be ok. Because he did and I was… and they do and we will.
See Page 4…