Driving home from work today, someone in a Jaguar sped by me. It made me think of one time when I was a kid. My Dad loved trains, almost to the point of it being a fetish. Naturally, my brother and I loved trains too. We would plan outings to go and look at them. I don’t think we knew the term “trainspotting” back then, but I guess that’s what we were. (FYI, Elie MB was one of my Dad’s favourite train watching spots. And you know, one time Marla and I were driving out West to the Rockies to visit Aunt Audrey, and it was about 5 in the morning and all fog around Elie and out of the fog came this ghostly headlight and then we could hear the whistle and horn and I thought to myself There are no coincidences.)
But I digress. (“Already?”, you may be thinking to yourselves).
When I was a kid, we would often do an outing in the afternoon and then end up at the Country Kitchen restaurant on Main St. I think it’s now a denture place. We always asked to sit by the window so we would have a clear view of the trains. After supper, we’d drive in behind the train station (this was before the Forks was developed) and we would drive around the railyards, looking at all the train cars. This is where they used to store the Prairie Dog Central, and sometimes if we got lucky we’d see it. This was probably all against the law, but we never actually saw a sign that prohibited us, so we never stopped. My Mom usually drove on these excursions, and one time we were coming down the back lane on the Main St. side of the railway tracks, most likely behind what is now Earls on Main St. and someone in a Jaguar was revving his engine behind us, clearly wanted us out of the way. I should mention that we were driving a 1974 gold Duster at the time. My Mom got furious at this asshole in the Jaguar and turned around to my brother and me and said, “Put your seatbelts on, I’m going to teach this jerk a lesson!” My Dad sat still and quietly fastened his seatbelt. He knew there was no reasoning to be had at this point. My Mom sped off down the back lane with the Jaguar tailgating us all the way. At the next street my Mom suddenly slammed on the brakes and the Jaguar couldn’t stop and slammed into the back of us! My Mom immediately flew out of the car, and ran back and began swearing and yelling and tearing a strip off the driver. We had a trailer hitch on the back of our car, and it horribly mangled the bumper and grill of the Jaguar. Miraculously, there was just a tiny bit of black Jaguar paint on our bumper. What made matters worse for the other driver was that he was a Jaguar car salesman and he was showing off the car to a prospective buyer. The driver, trying to save face, offered to pay for everything, took full responsibility and was thoroughly embarrassed. The potential buyer ended up with whiplash and am quite sure the driver lost a customer that day. My brother, Dad and me were not hurt at all. I was feeling that peculiar mixture of pride and embarrassment. As you often do with your parents.
Years later, my Mom and I were visiting Northern Ireland and one of our Irish cousins was going to take us out for an afternoon drive in his Jaguar. Just before we got in, my Mom hesitated for a moment, just a moment and had a faraway look in her eye. We never talked about “the incident”, but I wonder if it was replaying in her mind.
For as long as we had that car, we never had the bumper repainted.