It's getting cold here in New Hampshire and it won't be long before the snow starts to fall. Winter is a beautiful time of year but for me, it’s the season that forces me to put away my favorite toy, a 1988 Pontiac Firebird-Formula.
Let me share the story behind this car.
My grandfather was my hero and in many ways, the nucleus of our small family. His death was very difficult for everyone and it made me consider, for the first time, just what happens to all of us when we die. Eleven months later, my Grandmother died. She missed her husband and he came to get her. That's what I believe. So it was that my family endured a very difficult two years. My wife, Devin (who was my girlfriend at the time) remained supportive and brightened up my life. At the time, her and I were living in our first little apartment on the edge of the city. Things were great in our life but I just couldn't seem to get rid of my sorrow.
One morning, I left for work and drove down the busy street beyond the apartment complex and something caught my eye, a gleaming black sport car parked in a driveway with the words "FOR SALE $2,200". I drove by and went to work. All day long I kept seeing this car in my head. When I drove home, it was there, shining in the night, staring at me.
For the next three days, I drove by this vehicle on my way to and from work. Each day, it haunted my mind. On the morning of the fourth day, while driving to work, I looked for it. It was gone. I felt sick all day. No joke. That night, to my relief, it was back again. I couldn't take it anymore.
The weekend had come and I told Devin about the car. She saw my excitement and insisted we go take a closer look. I was resistant at first because I did not have an extra 2,000 dollars lying around. Devin, in her selfless and unending generosity, told me to spend the money in our savings account to buy it, as long as I agree to pay the account back soon. (How many women in the history of humanity would let a man deplete a savings account for a sport car? Not too many!)
We went to see the car. As I approached the black Firebird, my heart started to race. When I touched it, I felt a rush of heat shoot up my arm! I took the seller's phone number and called him the next day.
I met the man in the morning and he showed me the Firebird. It started right up, growled at me and rumbled quietly, as if begging to driven out of there. The interior, perfect. The body, solid and smooth. The engine looked clean and the mileage was very low. For its age, it was impressive.
I asked the man where he got it. He said he was a funeral home director and recently held a service for a young man who died. The family couldn't afford the full cost of the services so they offered the young man's Firebird as payment. The director accepted the deal, sure he could sell it. He told me that this car was special to the man who died and it was hard for the family to give it up.
I sat inside and gripped the wheel. It was then, my mind filled with memories of my grandparents. I could hear, in my heart, my grandfather saying, "be happy, son." Without even taking it to a mechanic, I handed the man an envelope full of cash and drove off to the gas station in my new Firebird. Before I left, the funeral home director said, "Promise me one thing..." I agreed, he continued, "Don’t end up at my work in this thing."