By Joe Darby
Me: Well, here we are in the year 2019. How does it feel to be 80 years old?
My 1939 Chrysler: Well, I don’t really feel too much of anything. I’m made out of metal, you know. There was that time when I was very low on oil and I started to feel my crankshaft and pistons get a little uncomfortable.
Me: It wasn’t my fault that your oil filter sprang a bad leak.
39C: No, but it was still a close call, before you got me fixed.
Me: Let’s get back to your age. You were built 80 years ago this year.
39C: Yes, that was a long time ago.
Me: Do you remember being built? What were the guys on the assembly line talking about?
39C; Well, they were wondering how the Detroit Tigers baseball team would do that year. As it turned out, not so great. They finished fifth and the Yankees won the pennant again.
Me: What do you remember about the year you were made?
39C: I know Hitler started World War II that year when he invaded Poland. The start of something terrible, it was. I don’t want to think about all that. Would you like to hear about my radio?
39C: I was the biggest Glen Miller fan! The first family I belonged to lived in Pennsylvania and they played my radio every time we went out, whether to a store or for a Sunday drive. And the daddy loved Glen Miller, just like I did. I tell you, on those Sunday drives, we’d go out into the country and I’d just be happily rolling along, listening to “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and all of Glen’s other great songs.
Me: That must have been nice. What do you think the guys on the assembly line would have thought if they knew you’d still be on the streets in 2019? That would be like a new car of today still being on the streets in 2099. Eighty years from now.
39C: I doubt if they would have believed it But it does show how strong I am, doesn’t it?
Me: It does. Do you have any special memories from your long existence?
39C: Yes, I’ll tell you about the day that my radio — that brought us all that great music — scared me. We were driving home from church one Sunday when the radio interrupted its regular music show to tell us that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. We didn’t even know where Pearl Harbor was, but the United States was in World War II now.
Me: How did that affect you?
39C: Well, daddy had to go to the war. He was an officer in the Air Force but he came home safely. As for me, the government cut way back on how much gasoline I could have, so momma didn’t hardly drive me at all. And I had to go for four years on the same set of tires. I was so glad to get a new set after daddy came home.
Me: What about the rest of your life?
39C: Never mind all that. What counts are the last nine years, since you bought me from antique car dealer in San Diego and had me trucked into Natchitoches. I’d never heard of this place before that.
Me: So how do you like being here?
39C: Oh, it’s great really. You and momma Mary take me out every few days — usually — and when we drive down to Front Street for you to eat, or whatever, I always get lots of waves and smiles. That makes an 80-year-old kind of proud.
Me: Yeah, we enjoy that too. But you know something? I’m just your caretaker for right now. I’m 77 myself and the day will come when you will have a new owner. I hope you stay on the road for many more years.
39C: Me too. I will miss you. But, for the time we do have left together, you could spend more time with me, you know. It gets kind of lonely in that garage when you don’t come see me for several days in a row. I remember that in the first few years you had me, you’d come into the garage at night and just sit in me.
Me: Yes. I enjoyed that. I was imagining what it would have been like when you were new. I’d pretend that we were driving all over the country. Maybe driving to the1939 or 1940 World Series, or something like that.
39C: Well, why don’t you do that anymore?
Me: I’ll make it my New Year’s Resolution to spend more time with you.
39C: Fine. And would you do another thing for me?
Me: If I can.
39C: Would you put a little more air in my tires? I’m starting to feel a little mushy when we go around corners.