Friday, July 11, 2014

Pedal Pushers & Automobiles

I'm sitting, waiting...

inside our Chevy Van named 'Handsome Bruce', a.k.a. Bruce or H.B. for short, after the Scottish King, 'Robert the Bruce', portrayed in the award winning movie 'Braveheart', who led his men into battle with his passionate cry... "You've bled with Wallace; now bleed with me."

Thankfully, in the seventeen years we've owned Bruce, no battles were fought, or blood shed, though he was wounded, when a pumpkin hurled at him last October, slightly dented his hood, making him now distinctive and handsome.

More handsome than our previous vehicles named Bruce:

a Chevy Nova Hatchback purchased used in '75, whose teeth-like grille and hood when opened resembled the mechanical shark in the summer blockbuster film 'Jaws', nicknamed Bruce by the crew after Steven Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Ramer.

and a brand new metallic red-orange '84 Chevy Van, similar in color to the Nova, calling this newer in'car'nate, Bruce 2.

Three automobiles in thirty-nine years: all Chevrolets, all named Bruce. There must be some truth to GM's slogan, "Built to Last," but in actuality, it's my husband's work ethic and high quality standards that have kept our automobiles on the road for so long.

So now I'm sitting, waiting, relaxing...

inside our van, while my husband Michael is inside Giant, our local supermarket, picking up a 4-pack of muffins... probably a double chocolate chip, lemon poppy, blueberry, and either cranberry-orange, cinnamon, or plain chocolate chip. I don't usually like surprises, but with breakfast pastries, I don't mind.

I also don't mind: sitting, waiting, relaxing, and now watching...

people: locking and unlocking car doors, walking towards the market, and others exiting the store pushing carts, or carrying plastic bags filled with groceries, a few shopping solo, most with children, spouses or friends. No one is hurrying, while many seem distracted, even attracted to something up ahead...

to a car with a flowering tree sticking out of its trunk.

But now I see the flowering tree is artificial and not protruding from the trunk at all, but stuck to the roof of the car as a permanent fixture.

Curious! Who would do such a thing?

Perhaps someone like me, who names their vehicles and believes inanimate objects have personalities all their own, or just someone with a good sense of humor and a vanity plate that reads... "Deir Me".

"Everybody's a walking museum of where they've been," said Colson Whitehead in his book, The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death, and who may have taken car decorating a step further when during his college days, he and two friends, traveled out west to Las Vegas collecting souvenirs from places along the way, and epoxying them to the hood of their 'jalopy'.

"Two Sears Towers sticking up over the engine, a row of turquoise stones on the roof above the windshield, toy buffalo stampeding across the great brown plain over the engine. Bull's horns from Arizona, in case we needed to gorge someone at ramming speed, you never know, and four refrigerator magnets with Elvis's face in the front grille to repel ghosts... and dozens of plastic slot machines in pink, red and lime-green"...

Possibly looking like this had they traveled a bit longer.

Photo by Yewco Kootnikoff of Canadian Poet Susan Musgrave's car

Well here comes the 'muffin man'.

Let me see... peeking into the plastic grocery bag he's holding marked: "Recycle This Bag For a Better Tomorrow." And today's mystery muffin is... plain chocolate chip!

Wait! There's more... some Stonyfield Organic Yogurt: blueberry and strawberry banana, and two bottles of Gold Peak Tea: sweetened and unsweetened.

Who goes into a supermarket and comes out with only one thing?... apparently, not my husband.

With the key in the ignition and the pedal to the metal, it's... "Home Bruce!"

For Handsome Bruce's namesake, watch the ending of 'Braveheart' here.

For more decorated vehicles, watch Houston's Art Car Parade here


  1. Alas! Poor Bruce, I remember him well!
    I remember him when he was just a new ride. He will always be recalled as that. I don't think there was a time when he looked dirty, battered, dented,
    or even perceived as automotive like. One could tell he was deeply cared for. He was a "DAPER VAN". The fact you gave him a human name was close to my heart.
    My own cars, Betsy ( Dodge Dart), Rene Descar ( Oldsmobile Omega), Vinnie Van Go (Honda Civic-hatch back) and the current Johnny Carscion, (Toyota Scion) had long lives also. All reached over 100,000. My parently was very utilitarian though and hadn't the Ship shape Couture as Bruce.

    1. You're like a kid in a candy store... sampling the treats one at a time... a Dodge, Oldsmobile, Honda, and Toyota. Let me know when you decide on a BMW or Jaguar... I'd like to accompany you to the dealership.

      "Dapper Van"... sounds like a possible name for our next vehicle :)

  2. Seventeen years! Bruce is a very lucky van to have an owner who takes such good care of him! We keep our autos a long time but never that long. Very impressive!

    We never named our automobiles but we had a mauve colored mini van when our kids were in high school. The kids referred to it as "Barney" because of its color.

    Enjoyed the Houston Art Car Parade. I'm not a huge fan of parades but that is one I would definitely go to see. I am always amazed at people's creativity.

    1. I'm trying to imagine a mauve (light purple) mini van. You don't see many purple cars on the road. Playful and purple... Barney was obviously an appropriate choice.

      Re: Parades... I feel the same way you do. While there maybe some exciting parts to a parade, battling the weather, the crowds, and standing for long periods of time waiting for something to happen isn't my favorite thing to do either. I'd rather watch it on video and fast-forward through the boring parts. Thankfully, the video of the Houston Art Car Parade was pretty much edited for our viewing.