Kids or Camaros


By Thomas Zimmermann l March 16, 2015 | As seen in Issue 221


   The bright sunlight penetrated the crystal clear glass windows in our bedroom, warming the beautifully quilted blankets my lovely and I were snuggling under as we talked about our past, present, and future together.  I cherish these moments with my lovely, quiet interludes when 5 of the 7 are at school, the remaining 2 having naps, and I’ve slowed down long enough to realize there’s the opportunity for some idle time to catch up on “us”, even if it was mid-afternoon. 

   We know better than to ask whether either of us would change anything in the past, as I suspect each and every one of us would and would either be millionaires or super models, or both.  The present?  We try to enjoy the moment, no matter how crazy or calm it is, and the future, a not so far off hope; aspirations for ourselves and our Zimmions.  Doctor, ballet dancer, engineer, bulldozer, lawyer, princess, and football player.  Not necessarily in that order, but it looks like I won’t ever be retiring if I want to help pay for education.

   As my beautiful repositioned for a more intimate cuddle, her long flowing brunette hair cascaded down my shoulder, trailing off down my arm as she gently kissed that oh so sweet spot on my neck.

   Her smooth,sultry voice broke through the lazy half formed thoughts in my head. “Where did you say you need to go this afternoon, sweetheart?”, somehow making it sound like she already knew I was going to conquer giants and slay dragons, wherever they may be.  At the moment, nowhere seemed as important or luxurious as where I was.  I decided to put her wondrous voice on replay in my mind, cause then I probably could conquer anything.
   “Steele, with an E.”, I responded dreamily, “ he’s got a few cars I’d like to see, and it would be nice to hang out with him for a while, see how the other half lives.” “What do you mean?” My lovely replied, the hint of a lilt in her voice indicating she was a little confused. “Oh, well, as far as I know he’s the bachelor type, no wife or kids.  That’s all.”  “It’s been a long time since you’ve been single, are you going to know how to behave around singular testosterone?” I could hear the smile in her voice as she teased me.  “Well, I know we won’t be able to talk about formula, or diapers, or how fast I can change a diaper in a public washroom without touching anything, but I think I can figure it out.  I’ll start with something about cars and how I used to crush beer cans on my forehead and we’ll be good.”

   As I pulled back the covers and started to get out of bed, thereby breaking the spell of our momentary refuge, my lovely found a soft spot on my otherwise chiselly body and pinched.  She was smiling mischievously, her green eyes blazing with...

(This part is adult rated, and not suitable for discerning audiences, shades of grey or not)

   ... finished my shower.  As I got dressed in the bathroom, I could hear two of my boys (numbers 4 and 5) talking excitedly in their bedroom about joining me. 

   “And guess what?  He’s got at least three race cars, and I bet they go superfast cause Daddy thinks one of them is red!  I can’t wait!”
   “Oh yeah, well I’m driving the red one, then!”
   Then the fighting started, my lovely dividing and conquering the two with effortless grace, having taken on seven at once in previous battles and coming out unscathed. “I’m sure you’ll both get a turn at driving the red race car, if there is one.” She explained, smiling at her boys disarmingly. “Okay, Mom”, the older one sighed heavily, “but he started it!”
   “Did not!”
   “Did too!”
   I got to listen to the did nots and toos for the 15 minute trip down the hill to Steele’s triple car sanctuary, promising myself I’d call Mom later just apologize. Again. For being just like my kids. Lots.

   We pulled into #13 Blair Crescent, an address that a lot of local people seem to be freaked out about and if rumours are true, old Mrs. Blair is buried in plot #13 at the local cemetery two blocks down the street and comes for a visit every now and then.  To prevent seven children from having nightmares, I decided not to ask Steele about any of that with young ears in attendance.  Then all we’d need is a lesson about Beetlejuice and our journey into scary land would be complete.

   Huge conifers partially obscured the albeit small house.  There was indeed a very large three car garage attached to one side, seemingly larger than the house itself.  Steele was outside, laying down road salt on the icy driveway.  “Hey guys!” He called out as we all jumped out of the resurrected Sambu from its winter slumber (2001 Yukon XL with five hundred thousand plus on the odometer... Tired, to say the least) Both boys called out in unison,”Can we sit in your race car?!?!”

   I smiled as I shook Steele’s hand, shrugged my shoulders apologetically as I said,”They are most definitely boys.” “Sure, let’s go look at the race cars boys!” Steele responded as enthusiastically as the boys,  nodding at me in agreement and enjoying the chance to show off his race cars with two unabashedly excited testosterone carriers. 

   What greeted us were three well preserved and cared for representations of GM engineering.  A ‘75 Nova SS, another ‘78 Nova Rally, and a ‘76 Camaro Rally LT, all 350 4-speeds with the Camaro a 3rd place winner at the World of Wheels vintage original category, original numbers matching everything, owned since 1986 by Steele and completely restored more than once, having been a car from the east originally and requiring extensive love and care when first purchased. 

   “Yep, that car even survived a breakup.” he explained as we quaffed a couple of Pils while inspecting the car, the boys sitting in the front seats, dream driving all around the world and winning most, if not all, of their fantastical races, even if none of the cars were red. “Whaddya mean?” I queried as I drained my first beer and opened another. “Well, I had a girl threaten me that it was either her or the car.”  Steele paused for a moment, as if reliving the scenario, then continued.

   “So, what I said was that I was going for a drive, and if she was still there when I got back then I’d know she was serious about our relationship.”  He looked into the beer can he was holding, decided it was empty enough, tossed it and reached for another.  “When I got back, she was gone.”

   I wasn’t really sure what to say, but admired him for deciding what he really wanted. We talked some more about guy things, cars and cigars, women and war (and how some days those are interchangeable), let the boys ogle the rest of the cars in Steele’s collection, and then it was time to go.  I was running out of child wrangling energy and didn’t want to have to pay for a repaint.

   Later that night, after the seven child feeding frenzy, fighting over who does dishes that night, tooth brushing, face washing fiasco, kids finally in bed an hour after official bedtime, my lovely and I sat in our cozy living room, reliving the days discussions and events.  I mentioned Steele and his Camaro’s survival.  I was massaging her feet lazily.

   “So,” she began, “what would you have done?” “’Bout what?” I asked, totally disarmed. “Would it have been me, or the car?” Her emerald green eyes were intense but knowing.  She just wanted to hear it. I slowly put her feet down on the floor, looked briefly at the scattered kids clothing, toys and other unidentifiable stuff in our humble abode, positioned myself closer to her on the couch, leaned in close to her ear and whispered, “You’re here now, aren’t you?” 

   She wrapped her lovely arms around my neck, kissed me gently on the cheek and whispered back, “I know, I just wanted to hear it.  I love you.”
   ... Somewhere out there, in the automotive nether, is a lucky owner of a ‘67 Coronet, original 273 Commando Special, turquoise in colour, and perhaps an original ‘63 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe with the original gas heater that didn’t quite ever work right.
‘Nuff said.