electric window race

image courtesy of Google

Repost from February 2011

Most people I know care what other people think about them to one degree or another and I fall into that category like everyone else in the world. When I was younger I cared a great deal about what people thought of me, I think it’s pretty common for kids.

Many people paint themselves like a canvas to portray the character they want the world to see. I’ve known people who have worn glasses because they wanted to look smart, I can tell you it never worked for me!

I remember being around 7 or 8 years old sitting in our car in the church parking lot after the service waiting on our mom and dad. Minutes seem like hours when you’re not playing as a kid. We were parked next to the Buchanan’s car at church, they had the nicest car at church, a Lincoln Continental which was right up there with Cadillacs as the nicest cars around in those days. (this was when the only notable import was the Volkswagen Beetle)

We had a Mercury too, but ours was an old four door Comet and it was the only car we had. My brothers new a lot about cars and enjoyed nice ones like that Lincoln. So with a tad of covetousness and a car load of boredom my brother Bobby challenged the adopted Buchanan kids to an electric window race.

One of the Buchanan boys quickly accepted my brothers challenge to the electric window race with enthusiasm, they too must have been bored out of their gourds.

Sure enough, even though we didn’t have as near nice a car as the Buchanan’s or live in one of the biggest houses that overlooked the whole town, we had faster electric windows, or so the Buchanan’s thought.

Although I was much younger than all the participants involved in the electric window race, I was astonished at how gullible or sheltered the three of them were. Our car wasn’t made with electric windows, it wasn’t even an option, neither were seat belts in the “affordable” cars like ours in those days. The only kind of cars with that kind of luxury was the Caddies and Continentals.

Bobby hunched forward a tad, leaned his left forearm on the armrest and on “GO” he would reach over his lap with his right arm and turn the window crank moving only his wrist. A pretty impressive feat since I could barely roll the window up or down with both my hands.

No matter, we were the electric window race champions of the church parking lot! We had proved we had something they didn’t, we had much more than they had, it would just take a little more time to gain that wisdom. Nice car? Hummph!

The problem with caring about what other people might think about us in this life is that we ignore the fact that everyone has issues or problems and their own set of insecurities to deal with. Adults and children alike.

My sister and the youngest adopted Buchanan girl were the same age, imagine how jealous I was when my sister got invited to go swimming at the Buchanan’s house? I only knew of two families that had their very own built-in concrete swimming pool in town. One was a doctor who lived in the prestigious Bel-Air Estates and the Buchanan’s who’s house overlooked all of ours.

It looked like the Buchanan’s had it all, but in time we would begin to see the cracks in the Buchanan family canvas. Though they were prominent members of our church and Mrs. Buchanan was a regular singing solos, my siblings and me decided the Buchanan’s must be giving a lot of money to the church, otherwise no way they’d have let her sing as bad as she was.

We all got thumped by our dad’s big ole’ finger one time or another trying not to snicker in church and especially when Mrs. Buchanan sang. Sadly, we didn’t have to hear her sing for too much longer after that electric window race.

The oldest son Donald shot and killed Mrs. Buchanan… Last we heard he had died in prison.

That was one of many lessons I’ve got a front row seat for in life. Our old car and house weren’t fancy, my two brothers and me shared a 9×9 room, all six of us shared the shower.

My dad was a blue-collar man and my mom’s job was to stay at home and take care of us. We had discipline and we had love, even then I knew I wouldn’t trade what I had for anything, not even a fancy house or car.

I didn’t realize at the time we were rich beyond my wildest dreams…