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Red Chevrolet

Friday, March 05, 2021

As we all know a good drunk always has to have a drunk-a-log and this was just the beginning of mine. I believe the year was 1982 most all of my friends were seniors in high school, I was a junior, as usual always lagging behind.
Before I get too caught up in the story I am about to tell, let me fill you in on a little history. I was not a fan of school to say the least, and did not apply myself at all. I remember all the teacher/parent conferences, they always went like so, " if only David would apply himself, he has the ability, he just seems distracted all the time" the teachers would always say. I was held back in 6th grade, Mrs. Greene said I was to immature. I failed my sophomore year, which left me graduating June 12th ,1984, my birthday, I was 20 years old. Both my older sister and younger sister had dropped out, I have an older brother who is mentally challenged, so I had to graduate, I was the only hope left, that's what I told myself.
As I stated before the year was 1982, not really sure what month, but I remember it wasn't cold outside. It was the weekend, either a Friday or a Saturday night and we all gathered down Rock road for a little party. All my friends were there, we had a little weed and a keg of beer, a bonfire and dreams of being older and free! We stood around the bonfire and told tall tales as we passed the joint around and the lies got bigger, our eyes got redder and life was good. Eventually the last beer poured from the keg, and it was time to go back to Hyper-Space (the local gameroom) or go home! I was driving my fathers brand new Chevrolet pickup, he bought it brand new prior to taking his last independent overseas tour to Okinawa, Japan, he was a Marine for 30 years, this was the 3rd or 4th time he had to go overseas for a year. So Myself, Dave, Tom, Chris and Danny piled in the truck and away we went. I remember getting behind David Dees and passing him on this narrow rock road with 10 feet ditches on either side, I was probably going about 45 mph when I realized it was to late to make the 90 degree turn, into the ditch I went, almost straight on! I remember smoke, confusion, I opened the door and fell in water about 3 feet deep, I climbed my way out of the ditch and began to assess the damage and check on all my friends. Danny had a good cut on his head and was bleeding pretty bad, my best friend Tom had a leg injury, at the time we didn't know it was broken, and everyone else seemed to be okay, including myself. Like a child that breaks his moms favorite vase, I looked in amazement and thought for a moment I can fix it! Me and Tom got a ride to my sisters house, and all the others made there own way.
I can't remember a time I have ever seen my mother this upset, as she walked in my sisters house she threw her car keys at me in disgust, she explained how she couldn't go to sleep unless she knew I was at home and safe, and how she dreaded hearing the phone ring, not sure knowing what news it would bring, and that this could have been that call! My sister finally got her calmed down and we took Tom home and his Mom gave us the third degree too. We both went to the hospital, I had a few bruises, but my best friend had a broken leg, all I could think was where all still alive!
I remember coming too the next morning and thinking it was all just a dream, but it was not. Over breakfast my mother said that she was going to call my father overseas and let him know what happened and that he would probably want to talk to me. I remember before he left he gave me the keys to his brand new truck and told me to take care of it, and to take care of my family that I was the man of the house until he returned home.
I sat quietly has I heard my mother tell my father the news, and as expected she looked at me and said, "your father wants to speak to you" and handed me the phone. " So your mother tells me you had a little accident", yes I answered, " are you okay and what about your friends", I'm okay, but Tom has a broken leg, Danny had a pretty good cut on his forehead , but I heard he's okay! Then my father preceded to tell me a story of how he and a friend of his got drunk on gin one night and tried to outrun the law, got arrested and my mother had to bale him out of jail! I was amazed at his story, my father seldom drank and I just couldn't picture him doing this. After he told me this story, I told him that his brand new truck was totaled, he said " you and your friends are alive and well, that's all that matters, Before asking for me to give the phone back to my mother, he told me that he loved me and for me to behave and that he never liked that damn Chevrolet anyway.
I expected a good tongue lashing from my father, yet he made me feel more human than I think I have ever felt, he made me realize that we all make mistakes. He was the greatest man I have ever known, the most humble and a great listener, I miss him so much!
This was just one night and I survived, there are many more and I can say my father watched me go down the wrong path knowing there was nothing he could do to deter me. He would patiently listen to me rant about how unfair the world is and from time to time tell me he thought I drank too much! He loved me anyway, about 4 years prior to my father going home I got sober and was able to make amends.
After returning home from Okinawa that year he never spoke of the Red Chevrolet again!


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