Shortly after returning back to Ohio after Dad’s funeral I had an email exchange with my best friend, Sheldon (The Mighty Polecat), back in Tennessee. I mentioned that he’d have to get me to tell him the story of the “1958 Impala Chevrolet”. Some time passed and he prodded me to tell him the story, so of course I did. After reading it, he was adamant that I should archive it with all my other writings, so… here is that email, minus salutations, complementary closings and such (months after the fact).
When my parents met, Dad drove a “1958 Impala Chevrolet”, I don’t know why, but that’s the way he’s always said it. This was a pretty cool ride for a young dude in 1965-66. He also inexplicably said “Big Red Sodee Pop” the only context in which I ever heard him use the word “sodee”… it was a secret carp catching recipe… dough balls formed from Wonder Bread and “Big Red Sodee Pop” are apparently irresistable to Carp.
Anyway, back to the car…
As this was the first year for the Impala, they are quite sought-after (and thus, expensive) now.
Dad and Roger (his then best friend; later my step-father) both had ’58 Impalas. Dad had a 283, Roger had the 348. Dad says his would run right with Roger’s until they hit top end. Dad’s was light blue, Roger’s was (I think) white.
The Impala had 6 round, bullet shaped tail-lights, 2 red ones on each side flanking the clear back up light. Dad and Roger both had 6 red tail-lights, having purloined the spares from some unfortunate Bel Air drivers (after all, nobody cool drove a Bel Air). A funny aside… for years Dad denied the whole 6 red tail-lights thing, it wasn’t until his later years that he owned up to it (with a twinkle in his eye).
Anyway, for years Dad had dreamed of owning one again, but alas, none of us could afford one (we were all looking, too!)
When I went to visit in February, Mom sent along a 1958 Chevrolet Impala model kit. We got all the correct colors, and Dad and I (mostly me, he mainly gave input on color and options and the like; and supervised) spent DAYS working on that thing, getting everything just so, doing all the really fine detail work.
He loved that model, he would sit in his recliner holding it, looking it over with a far-away look in his eyes just about every day. The model even came with 6 red tail-lights! We were so afraid we’d have to liberate some off of some unsuspecting Bel Air model.
Anyway, the last time Dad ‘played’ with it, one of the wheels had fallen off, easy enough to fix.
At the funeral home they had (one of) Dad’s rod and reels, his tackle box, Walter (Walter’s a mounted bass), and the model. Much to my surprise it survived being carted about and riding home in the trunk of a limo none the worse for wear.
Then later, either that day or the next, Leslie was moving the aforementioned fishing rod which was leaning against the mantle. The car was also sitting on the mantle. The car came crashing down onto the brick hearth, and I thought Les was going to cry. I was a bit sick over it myself, but I managed to affect Dad’s cool and assured her it would be fine, that I’d fixed it before (several times) and I could do it again.
The amazing/ironic thing is that it wasn’t a wild kid, an errant ball, or any of the things I expected to do it. It was a fishing pole!
I brought the car home, it’s fixable; I just can’t handle it emotionally right now.
I also brought back a couple of fishing reels (one’s a FINE Abu Garcia I gave him about 18 years ago) and I have rods coming (wouldn’t fit/couldn’t be trusted in baggage). I’ll just have to keep the rods away from that 1958 Impala Chevrolet!
Damnit Polecat! You made me cry!
So, there it is. As a post-script, the car is now repaired, my brother-in-law sent the rods, and I’ve made darned sure to keep them away from Dad’s car!