Sunday, August 3, 2008

Uncle Bob's Cadillac Test Drive

Let's see...where were we... It was October 0f 1966 and after about 4 or 6 beers my Uncle Bob announced...let's take "her" out for a spin. "Her" being his brand new 1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado, electric blue with a white interior, 2 door, convertible. Seeing as how Uncle Bob only had about 4 or 6 beers in him, I figured we were safe. We jumped in...
My Dad sat up front with Uncle Bob, my brother Joe and I, in the back. I am seated with Uncle Bob's empty Hills Brothers coffee can he uses to pee in. The Cadillac's interior is white. Luxurious. Beautiful. I smell urine from the can. The coffee can triggers my Lake Berryessa fishing trip nightmare and an "Evil Knievel does the Suisun Slough" flashback. My almost 12 year old heart is racing! I can't help it but I panic...I'm now yelling at Uncle Bob to stop the car. The brakes lock-up and we skid to the curb. Uncle Bob, caring adult that he is, inquires as to what in the hell is wrong with me?! My brother Joe smiles and says that I'm scared. What a butt-hole brother I have. He says nothing for days, all he does is smile that nervous smile of his, and then opens his yap only to screw with me. I then apologized for my actions. Promising all kinds of promises I would never be able to keep. Anything, just to get through all of this. I told Uncle Bob I was totally and completely sorry and that I would never,not-ever, insult the family name with such cowardice in the near future and the rest of my days ( if I had any left). Uncle Bob said it was OK as he'd been wanting to test out the brakes anyway. My Dad agreed that brakes were a good thing, as he opened another Miller High Life for Uncle Bob. We drove in style, with the top down, on a beautiful early autumn afternoon. Uncle Bob was tossing out empty beer bottles along our merry way out into the country, to what he called "Dead Man's Curves". Dead Man's curves?! I thought it was Dead Man's Curve. My Dad told me, matter-of-factually, that there's a series of curves up ahead, where many have crashed and burned. Uncle Bob asked if I remembered Elvis in Viva Las Vegas and all those horrific car crashes in the movie, when Elvis was racing along in a sports car playing the part of a race car driver named Lucky Jackson? Cautiously I said yeah. Well, Uncle Bob says, "It was filmed right up the road from here. Hell, we're almost there now", he says. Awww shit, I think. I look at my brother Joe. Joe smiles. I look in the rear view mirror at my Uncle Bob's face, he smiles. I bend forward to see my Dad's face...he smiles. Just as I'm really gettin' ready to crap my pants Uncle Bob hits the brakes hard and we slide sideways onto a country road, putting a ton of dust in the air (as singer Charlie Daniels would say).
It was a country road known only to Elvis, Charlie Daniels, and Uncle Bob, as "Dead Man's Curves". Just my luck. I am an almost 12 year old boy, who has a plastered Uncle Bob behind the wheel and he thinks he is Mario Andretti. This is not good. On the Cadillac's radio I hear Roger Miller singing " King of the Road" while Uncle Bob drains another beer. Surely he's not gonna take us on some kinda high speed cornering test drive? And while soused too?! Even Uncle Bob wasn't, nor couldn't, ever possibly be intoxicated enough to think he could drive a Million Horse Powered 429 cubic inch powered engine, 5 ton, Queen Mary lookin', convertible, electric-blue with a white interior, 2 door, Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado, with fins, curb feeler's and rear fender skirts, through some kinda Car and Driver road test on this dirt road? Hell, it wasn't even a dirt road. It was a Pig Trail, as my Texan Mom would call it. Uncle Bob says..."Boys, put on your seat belts." We never used seat belts. Ever! I was the first one "clicked" in with my seat belt on. I began sweating profusely. Then all hell broke loose! Broke loose in the form of hootin' and holler'n. Seems Uncle Bob, Dad, and brother Joe, all knew what a life-loving chicken shit I was and just did this to scare the crap outta me. Ha. Ha. Very funny. I got even. On the way back I threw up in, on, and all over the Cadillac's back seat. My brother Joe, who was still all smiles, quickly grabbed Uncle Bob's famous coffee-piss can. Pushing the urine smelling can away, I stuck my head over the side and barfed all over the left rear side of the convertible. Fins and all. Uncle Bob just shook his head, grabbed another beer and told my Dad, "I deserved that, I reckon. But...DAMN"!!! The ride back into Fairfield was slow and easy. The radio played Buck Owens...the song... Cadillac Lane.

I wish I was a rich man a livin' on Cadillac lane
And I'd tour the world in a great big shiny plane
I'd go to all the famous places like Italy Rome and Spain
If I was a rich man a livin' on Cadillac lane

I wish I was a rich man a livin' on Cadillac lane
I'd had my own private car on some big railroad train
I'd never have to work again for the doggone thing
If I was a rich man a livin' on Cadillac lane
[ guitar ]
Well there's a lotta rich people livin' on Cadillac lane
Eatin' caviar and a drinkin' pink champagne
But I've got your love and to me that's everything
And I'm not so sure about the people on Cadillac lane
I wish I was a rich man...
But who needs to be a rich man a livin' on Cadillac lane


Erica said...

I ralphed on a car once, shortly after I fell out of a tree in cemetery while playing hide and go seek. The fifth of whiskey definitely had something to do with it. Someone else ended up riding home on my bike that definitely wasn't me.

JihadGene said...

Whenever I hear Ralph, I think of The Great One, Jackie Gleason.

Erica said... outstanding pool player...from Brooklyn. Ay, Ralphie Baby!

Anonymous said...

Dunno. If I had to sit by that coffee can, I wouldn't have waited for the test drive from hell in order to start heaving my breakfast lunch and dinner all over the place.

Great storyteller!


joated said...

Funny, Ralph to me is Christmas Story and Jean Shepard.

Loved your tale.

My son would get car sick when he was 5 r 6 years old every time we hit a particular stretch of Rt. 519 in Sussex Co. New Jersey on our way to and through Port Jervis. We started to call it Puke Jervis. after the second incident.

Teresa said...

Did your momma ever hear about these things??? I hope not for her sake. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Good. Really good.

none said...

I love this trip down memory lane.

What's with the piss can?