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Hartselle Enquirer

The Dodge Dart That Could

It was a dark, cold night when our blue Hyundai hatchback sputtered to a stop somewhere between Corinth, MS and home. We’d been visiting my great grandmother for Christmas and something I was too young to understand gave out on the highway. 

I’m not sure how long we rode in that tow truck, but it seemed like it was a cross country trip. 

We finally got home and went to the shop in our Impala to get our Christmas gifts. Upon arriving at the shop flames came pouring out of the Impalas exhaust.

One night, two cars down. 

The Hyundai was parked next to a cemetery and the Impala was obviously seconds away from being a fiery death trap, so seven year old Jacob made Mama and my sister stand out in the cold while Daddy and my brother walked the two miles home to get Daddy’s old Dodge Dart.

Seeing that old white car rolling down the road I felt what I can only imagine the soldiers in war movies feel like when the tanks roll in just as the enemy is about to overtake them; it looked to me like a golden chariot speeding towards our salvation. 

My only other distinct memory of that car is the time Daddy picked us up for football practice and said, “Jacob, you ate yet?” And I said, as serious as a heart attack,, “Nope, I’m still four.” On the way to practice I was terrified of a dead yellow jacket in the back window.

A few years after that we sold that Dart, which made Mama happy because the only other time she ever liked that car was that cold, December night. There’s part of me that wishes we could have kept it and it would be sitting in a garage somewhere in pristine shape. The reality is, though, we’re not that kind of family. And besides, maybe it’s being gone is part of the lore. Maybe it’s being in our lives for such a short time as kids makes those two memories all the more special.

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