Auto-Matically Crazy

I had a hard disk crash last week, which means I am now hopelessly behind in Facebook notes. Yes, I want to do the album cover, and my 15 “desert isle” CDs, and my Musical Facts. Those are all cool. But I don’t have time to do those today.

However, these questions, given to me by fellow Nashbillian, JP, have been written up and ready to go for a week..since the day the hard disk crashed…so here you go….(ps: I added the question about wrecks, and today’s dream car…) EF

Is it true we are what we drive? Compile a list of vehicles that have been in your life.
(i.e., autos, trucks, any internal combustion or electric/hybrid vehicle)
Instructions: Copy this page to the body in “notes”
Delete previous answers and then add your own.
Tag as many people as you wish to receive it.
Then click “publish” in notes section

1. What is your first “vehicular” memory?
Driving with my grandmother through the streets of Atlanta, Texas and yelling at her to watch out, because I was sure she was going to hit somebody. I have no idea why I did this, at age 4 or 5, or any evidence that she was actually a bad driver.

2. What was the first “amazing” vehicle you ever saw?
The Batmobile from the TV show. I can’t remember where I actually saw it, though. It might have been during the short stint we lived in California in the late 60s. I know it was at a shopping mall, and on display. Since Batman was my personal hero, this was an incredibly cool moment.

3. What car did you learn to drive in?
Two cars. My Dad’s puke green 1970’s Plymouth Valiant– perhaps the geekiest car ever known to humankind– and my Mom’s powderblue Chrysler station wagon…also, circa 1970s.

4. In what vehicle did you have your first date?
My 1965 For Mustang (see below

5. What vehicle do you most remember riding or driving to school?
My 1965 Ford Mustang (see below)

6. What was the first vehicle that was yours alone and where is it now?
For reasons still unknown to me, my Kentucky grandfather had bought a ’65 Mustang, that served as the only car I’d ever known them to own. I remember driving with him around Covington in it. When he died and after I turned 16, we took a special trip to Kentucky to recover several items and bring them back to Texas. Among them: my roll top desk, and that ’65 Stang, which then became my first car….given to me by my GRANDPARENTS.

It was, by a factor of 1,000, the coolest car I ever owned, and probably will ever own. Even worse, I had a clear teenage sense of just how cool it was, and lived those years between 16-21 knowing they would be the absolute Zenith of my car coolness.

When I was in graduate school, and the car was now aproaching 30-years-old, it began to break quite a bit. Minor things, really. Had I had any income at all, I would have kept it, and fixed it every time. But I needed reliable wheels, and it was, more and more, becoming a show car.

So, I sold it my good friend, Stu, and his Dad, who wanted to restore it. But, like me, money and time got in their way. They eventually sold it to a guy in Richardson who does restoration. Stu gave me the address once so I could drive by, and told me the guy still had the car. But despite my curiosity, I’ve never made it by to take a look.

7. Have you ever totalled/wrecked a car? Describe.
Within days of getting my license, I had my first wreck when I went to get my friend, John Ramey, and fishtailed the family station wagon while turning the very first corner at the end of his block. It was wet. It had been raining. And I was trying to be cool, since I knew I was the first friend of John’s ever to take him for a ride. (I was the oldest in my class, and always the first to do everything…including get my license…)

We fished-tailed, and the front end of the car ended up over the curb of one of his neighbor’s lawns. I freaked, and instead of putting in reverse, I hit the accelerator. The car lurked forward and bumped a tree.

We got out for a second, and then John said, “Let’s run! Let’s GO!”

So, we drove back to my place in silence, and got out. It was dark, and so we went to inspect the damage. There didn’t seem to be any, and so we resolved to tell no one.

Of course, there WAS damage. And the next day, in the light of day, I got in some of the worst trouble of my life…first, for having the wreck, and second, for trying to keep it a secret. It was truly a “fender-bender,” but a horrifying experience, nonetheless.

A few years later, I was driving my Dad’s Plymouth Valiant to school (I don’t know why) and was headed across the parking lot at the corner of Belt Line and Coit. (the Northeast quadrant) There used to be a 7-11 there, and I was headed for 7-11 for a quick snack. A businessman, cutting across the parking lot to avoid the long light (from Westbound Belt Line to Northbound Coit) flew out of nowhere and slammed into me broadside…..literally crushing in the driver and passenger doors.

In retrospect, it’s was probably a lot worse of an accident that I realized at the time. It totaled that car…which in a weird way helped the car-hipness of our family, because the Valiant was gone.

In 1999, Dennise had a terrible car accident, and that’s really her story to tell. Sufficed to say, it was one of the scariest moments of my life, in that the police called me to the accident scene (at Yale and Central) to recover her phone and purse. I had Maria with me in the baby seat (Dennise was joining us at a party for one of Maria’s two-year-old friends…)

Her car was so completely totaled (the roof had been removed by the “Jaws of Life” to extract her) that I didn’t even recognize it when I arrived on the scene…I was overcome by the half dozen police, ambulance, and fire trucks. They told me they’d already transported her to Baylor. Given how the car looked, I had the fear that she’d be near dead. And, in fact, the person who phoned in the accident to the police later told his wife, “I don’t think the person in the white car made it out alive.”

Dennise, turns out, was mostly fine, with what a hospital would probably call “minor” injuries. She had stitches in a few places, had to have hand surgery, and she struggled with short-term memory problems for about a year (She still had a better memory that me!) But she was going to be OK.

Nevertheless, the vision of that twisted piece of metal, the glass scattered across the road, will stay with me always.

8. Your worst vehicle?
This is a toughie. From the Mustang, I went to two small trucks (an S-10 and a Ranger successively) that were both quite reliable. We have a Jeep now that tends to break down a lot, and so I guess I’ll go with that. Although, all-in-all, I’ve liked every car I’ve ever owned.

9. What’s your current vehicle, and what’s the most favorite vehicle you’ve had?
Two: A Jeep Cherokee (the classic body) and an early Toyota Prius (before they adopted the current body style) I love both of them for different reasons. The Jeep, because of it’s classic style…the Prius because….it’s a Prius.

10. What is your dream car?
I have two. I would love to be independently wealthy, and find a way to buy back either my 65 Mustang, or another one similar to it. Alongside that, I would love to have one of the models from the last few years. I LOVE the Mustangs of the “2000s” and would love to own one of those too.

But my *favorite* of all time? Hands down, the Mustang.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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