The Sunday Drive – May 2020

If your car could talk to you on any Sunday it would probably demand a Sunday drive. Not a road trip mind you – a Sunday drive. Trust me young man or woman- there is a difference. Today I woke up with that desire for a Sunday drive. In a Thursday, a Covid 19 Los Angeles opening day. Said so on the news.

And if you also want or need to learn more about Sunday drives then maybe listen to those men and women between the ages of 60 and 90; who lived it, they could possibly tell you; that among the countless of things that seem to elicit their most fondest of memories – a Sunday drive is surely to top the list.

Anyone that owned a car during the 50’s and 60s went on Sunday drives. With No real destination in mind – except for maybe a soft serve ice cream, followed by a pony ride and then a root beer float, fruit or vegetable shopping or a hamburger stop near or in between the end of the Sunday drive. Sorry- just my recollections.

Sometimes we even stopped off to visit a relative who lived on a dairy farm. And on special Sundays when it got just the right amount of dark – the children ran around chasing and collecting lightning bugs and placing them in mason jars. And wondering- what happened to the light?

On simple and plain Sunday drives our family made the rounds to my mothers side of the family. First a visit to Uncle Felix and Aunt Belkis followed by a visit to Uncle Ramon and Aunt Dora. And then home. Drinking and driving was also ok then. Children and dogs riding in the bed of pickups was also ok. If you needed or wanted a dog you could easily find one wondering around without a collar. Or if you wanted a pup or a kitten you visited someone out in the country.

Most of the time it was a Sunday ride in the single family/grocery getter car. Today I sort of found myself recreating this fondest of memory; all minus the family and in my own version of a vintage family car – my new to me 2001 Z06 Corvette.

Back to my fondest of memories it was probably a 50’s era four door Ford with a manual shift on the column driven by dad. He usually paid no more than $100 for his cars and rotated them every two years or so whether they needed it or not. Much to complicated today to operate for anyone to wanted to drive and enjoy the drive. Those type of cars you usually aimed them on the road and not necessarily steered them. And forget anything safety related on board unless you carried your very own fire extinguisher. No. I never ever remember having to eat in our car. The food and drinks were usually kept in the cooler packed with ice in the trunk. Drivers education was taught when you turned 15. Unless you had a really cool dad, uncle or grandpa who gave you an earlier condensed version of the same course.

Earlier in the morning today I completed a 280 mile drive loop from my front door. For less than $50 bucks the car is now car washed, the tank is full and I was able to stop for lunch. Today’s drive found me heading towards the mountains and then spilling onto the Mojave/Sonora desert scene. Perhaps one last chance to see the 2020 poppy bloom, and also perhaps one last view at the melting snow on the mountains.

Mom, dad, sister, no seat belts or even real seats. To pass the time I remember looking out the window and when that got boring my sister and I would lift the carpet and watch the road scenery going by through the softball sized hole in the floor. I stuck my foot in the hole and pretended to be falling while my sister shrieked. A swift blow to the head from the front seat usually remedied the back seat children passengers.

Spotting large cow like animals meant we left the city. Road kill dogs and cats were common. Soft drinks were always called coke to us. And if you filled up at a gas station they would give you things like toys or S&H green stamps that you affixed to a book that stayed in your glove compartment. This book could be traded in for household things.

Also stopping by the airport to watch airplanes land was a big deal. Some people preferred this over going to the beach.

Book says: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t.

I’m not surprised some people prefer books.”

– Julian Barnes