Goodbye red KIA

I always wanted a red car and when, after a slight accident, I totaled my Ford Suburban, Janice, (my daughter) and I set out to look for one. We found this cute red KIA Sportage, easy to get in and out,

lex and car.JPG

lex and car.JPG

in the KIA sales room, just what I was looking for and fell hopelessly in love with, but it was over my budget and we marched from there to the used car lot to find everything going our way again - a brand new looking seven year old duplicate of the one in the showroom. We looked at each other and said without hesitation, this is it! and purchased it. Janice took a picture of the beauty and the proud owner,me, beside it, and sent that image directly to her sisters. Later I called daughter Jacki telling her of my happy purchase of the red Sportage when she said after a slight pause

"Have a look again at your car, dad,” which I did and to my horror saw that my red car was blue! And had been blue all along, according to Janice, who never prevaricates, like all the sisters.

One early morning on my way to Tim Hortons for breakfast I had an accident with my blue KIA. One front wheel dangled off the axle, and the passenger side looked as if a steam roller had gone over it. My thoughts went to what the thoughts of my son Len might have been, who died in a car accident thirty-seven years ago. Perhaps he had been unafraid as I was not afraid, only bewildered, but Len, our only son was dead and I stayed alive. I wondered about that, but my friend said 'your work has not been completed yet' which makes me think 'was my eighteen year old son's work finished?'

Janice and Erwin and their sons will check the car out and sell it, distributing whatever they get for it among the grandchildren.

Shortly after John and I as immigrants landed in Transcona Manitoba, we purchased a one or two-year old pale green, two-door Chevy for about two thousand dollars. We lend the largest part of that amount from Germ Veenstra, a bachelor, who offered us a loan at 6% interest of what we were short. Germ had purchased a house which he rented out to a dutch immigrant family, while he himself lived in the free standing garage. He looked after himself, including cooking and washing clothes, however in bachelor style. He took a fresh afternoon for for ironing his clothes for instance by firing up the potbellied wood-stove in the middle of the garage with two small irons on top. When the irons were hot enough he might start with ironing his Sunday shirt, of which he ironed only the collar, not even the shirt sleeves since they were hidden under his jacket sleeves anyways, which he took of just before he went to bed.

We were allowed to take the car immediately home, since we had paid cash with the help of Germ's loan, but how to get our prize home? I was 22 and John 18, both virgins in the art driving a car, and to make matters worse the vehicle, like most cars in the early fifties, was not automatic but a standard.

We managed to get it off the lot and from thereon trouble started. Both of us were very eager to take the reins of our new horse but their was only place for one in the drivers seat. I argued that I, as the oldest, should have that privilege, which John countered that the youngest should have an equal chance. We finally agreed to each drive the length of five telephone poles on the side of the road, after which we'd stop, not to switch horses but drivers.

With the privilege of driving comes an obligation to have a valid drivers license. We were not that good drivers yet and I was not at all sure of my motoring skill, so like in the beginning of the 1800ths under Bonaparte Napoleon, when young men were called to serve in the army, some of them, special the well-off, would take a ramplesant, one to replace him, usually a poor young man, whom they



would royally pay for that service. So I took a ramplesant to the country side where licenses were easier to obtain and have the ramplesant do the drivers test for me. That cost me a cup of coffee and a piece of pie, fifteen cents. Was that cheating? It sure was, but justice prevailed in the end, since we lived on the fringe of the city of Winnipeg we had to do the tests all over again. I got mine but my brother failed.

The government buildings in Winnipeg have two sets of very wide concrete stairs in front, totaling some thirty steps. When John and the driver examiner were poised to go down those steps, and the steps were icy, (it was in the winter) the examiner slipped and fell down the steps, probably hurting himself. John could not contain himself and had to laugh. Which the examiner saw. Luckily he had not broken any bones and took the exam anyways. It did not come as a surprise to us that John failed.