Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Drives

If you are of a certain age and can remember when gas was less than 50 cents a gallon and MPG was something nobody really knew or cared about, then you may remember going for Sunday Drives.

When I was little girl, Sunday Drives were a highlight of the week.  Or month.  We didn't go for a Sunday Drive every week.  But after church, when we were still going to church, St. Irenaeus, Gramma and Grandpa would pull up to the house in my Grandpa's 1956 Pink DeSoto, the SS Fireflight:
We called it "The SS Fireflight" because ,well, that was the name of that model and because it was the size of ship.  With a pushbutton transmission, hydraulic windows, doors heavy enough to cut off your arm if you got it caught and a kind of brownish mauve colored brocade upholstery along with a big-ass Hemi engine to move that vessel around town.  

All seven of us, Gramma, Grandpa, my Mom and Dad and us three girls, would pile in and head out on the highway, looking for adventure, in whatever comes our way.  Sometimes Grandpa would be behind the wheel, other times my dad would drive.  My mom would sit up front with the men and Gramma would sit in the back with The Three Comanches (Jamie, Tracie and I) and she'd remind us not to roll down the windows and stick our hands out because if we stuck our hands out the window, they'd blow off and maybe hit the windshield of another car and cause the driver to crash.

We never knew where our Sunday drive would take us.  Some days, we'd head toward Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo because my devoutly Catholic Gramma wanted to see the Missions.  Another time, we drove to Palm Springs because the Date Festival was going on.  A highlight of that was seeing that racy flick, "Sex Life of a Date" which I think was about the growing and cultivation of date palms but all I remember about it was that it was boring and there wasn't any naughty stuff, let alone S E X.  

One time, we were out on a Sunday Drive, out in the middle of nowhere (it seemed to me) and we were passing this big stadium looking thing and Gramma said, "That's where the Angels play". Since I knew that Angels were in Heaven and if that stadium place was where the Angels played, and I pictured them sitting on the ground in their long white nightgowns and halos and wings playing with toys and stuff, and that if you SAW the Angels playing then that meant you were DEAD and I got all freaked out because that was just a little too REAL if I actually SAW where Angels played instead of just imagining them up in Heaven and I wanted to get away from that place as fast as I could because it was like having a brush with death, just like when I'd see lights moving around the sky at night and I always thought it was Angels flying around and didn't believe it when someone told me those lights weren't Angels you big dope, they were spotlights.  Nope, I wasn't fooled because I saw the actual place where the Angels played with my own two eyes even if I didn't actually SEE the Angels in their nightgowns and wings and halos but I KNEW they were in that place.  Gramma said so.  

Years later I finally figured out Gramma was talking about the California Angels baseball team (none of that stupid "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" crap which is such an insulting name and I'm not even a baseball fan) but I still remember being all freaked out at the thought of Angels right there instead of up in Heaven and I still get the heebie-jeebies.

I don't remember when we stopped going for family Sunday Drives, probably in the early 70's when my Grandpa had yet another of his heart attacks and couldn't drive much but those drives, and the SS Fireflight, which finally left the family sometime in the early 90's, were a treasured part of my childhood.

Nowadays, our Sunday Drives consist of towing the big toyhauler home from a desert motorcycle race and instead of laughter and conversation, there's snores coming from the exhausted guys in the backseat.

And no wild-eyed wonder at seeing such sights such as the place where actual Angels play.

They have no idea what they missed.



  1. Beautiful car! I love the part about the angels. But, for me, I'd be all excited, picturing sweet angels sliding into home base.

    Great piece.