Here I am, cruising along, making ends meet, but improving my lot in life.
Then, the dry lemons.
My wonderful wife of 24 years suddenly passes away, leaving me and our son of 9 drowning in a sea of grief, and emptiness. (Who knew there were SO many decisions to be made in such a short period of time when a death occurs?) She shared in my passion all things muscle car. Especially our friendly "war" of favorite muscle cars. She was an ardent Mustang fanatic. She was so thrilled at the styling and potential greatness of the new generation 2005 Mustang. She wanted one just as badly as I wanted a GTO.
I had been a GTO nut since I saw my first one, a 1966 GTO convertible that a family down the street from us bought in 1966. I'll always remember those "only in '66" taillamps. They were the most frequent view I had of the golden Goat. I always heard it before I saw it, yet rarely got to the front window in time to glimpse it before it got past me, taillamps glowing, as they receded down the street. It was our plan to buy one example of each after the kids grew up and moved out.
We almost got there...Marshall's three sisters got out and on with their lives, leaving just us and the boy Prince to share the passion with.
When the 2004 GTO came out, I thought we might have us a great modern day mom 'n pop drag race. I had already scoped out some back country roads near Bagdad, Arizona that we could go sneak a few runs on. Not being able to afford a new car at that time, I discovered Bob Lutz' email address at GM, and cyberbegged him to give me one. Didn't have to be brand new, I reasoned!
One of those flogged press fleet vehicles would do just fine. A great salesman once said something like, "If you don't ask for the sale, you won't get it". Yeah, he blocked me from ever sending him another email. Don't know what I was thinking! Asking the great Bob Lutz for a free car..(Idiot!)
But, that's what love drives you to do. She had been sick for a long time. But I never entertained the thought that she would die before me. I knew that we wouldn't be able to afford both cars at once.
So I was willing to put aside my wants, and spend our limited funds on her Mustang first. But, we didn't even get there. I did manage to surprise her, on our last Valentine's Day together (who knew?) with a rental Mustang. It was silver, and a six cylinder. But it was hers for a week. It was the best medicine I could have possibly given her. Her back magically felt a lot better in those supportive bucket seats. When she drove about town, she wasn't Mom anymore. She was more than just a suburban housewife. No, for those few moments in time, she got her real name back, Linda.
And I am glad that I gave her that chance. The GTO dream is long gone. Now, replaced by a car she never laid eyes on, the 2010 Camaro. I can see her telling me that even a Camaro wasn't going to beat her and the Mustang. I wish I could give her the chance to pull it off. Since her passing the Prince and I have suffered thru the peaks and valleys of loss and depression. Thank God she didn't live to suffer thru this economic crap we have had to endure. She had enough pain and suffering in her short, 42 years of life. Now we, her survivors, live with the pain and suffering, like millions of our comrades in the auto industry.
After her passing, I soon lost my job as an auto body damage estimator. The recession squashed my prospects thereafter. If not for the help of family, and a very good friend, I couldn't even dream of attaining a new Camaro. Actually, all I CAN do is dream. The old saying is "Champagne tastes on a beer budget"? Yeah, right. Not even that...