My father loved vehicles of any description throughout his entire life. It didn’t matter to him whether they travelled by road, rail, water or air, or if they were old, new, or what model they were, he showed an interest in them all. If it had a motor, he wanted to know about it.
When Dad was gone, it was left to me and my three sisters to dispose of all of his worldly belongings and as the one who lived only ten minutes from his home, I became the designated seller of his car.
Naively, I thought it would be easy to sell a car, just place an advert in the local paper and it would ‘walk out the door’.
How wrong I was! As time went on, it appeared that Dad had his own plans regarding the disposal of his final vehicle.
After what seemed like forever, a neighbour bought the car for his daughter, a learner driver. He would fix up the car for her and it would be a great “first car”.
I had considered buying my sister’s shares in the car and keeping it for my eldest son, who would be learning to drive soon himself, but decided against that idea, as the car would have sat idle in our yard, no doubt deteriorating due to lack of use, for the next two years, until my son would be old enough to drive.
When the time came for my son to buy his first car I gave him “the motherly talk”, the one that goes, “don’t spend too much, but buy a decent car, but if you pay too little you will only be buying someone else’s problems; no car is worth wasting any amount of money on if it is too cheap, you never know where it has been, who has owned it or how it has been treated,” etc. etc……..
But Dad had plans of his own. He knew just the car that his grandson wouldn’t have to pay too much for, and we knew exactly where it had been – his car.
The time had also come for our neighbour’s daughter to upgrade her car. Dad’s car came back on the market at exactly the right time.
It felt “right” when my Dad’s car was driven back into our own driveway. My son had to go to work for a few hours that day, (he had a casual job on the weekends as he was still a student at school) and the car would be waiting for him when he arrived home.
My husband and I decided to get a head start for our son by vacuuming out the car, although we found that the back door on the passenger side wouldn’t open. We knew that the door had opened when we had the car before but now the door appeared to be locked, even though it wasn’t.
When my son arrived home we mentioned the problem with the door. What we hadn’t realised was that our son had opened all the doors of the car (part of his “new car” inspection!) before he left for work that day.
My boy walked up to the car and opened the “locked” door, with ease!
At that moment, I knew that my father had intended his car to go to my son.
For the next two years, Dad’s car didn’t miss a beat. My son finished school and started his first full time job immediately. He already had a decent deposit saved, ready to upgrade to a newer car, and within three weeks of starting work full time he decided to start looking around for his new car.
My boy had a very clear image of the car he wanted; red, fairly new and manual gear.
Again, I gave him the “mother talk”; “don’t fall in love with the first car you see; don’t let those used car salesmen talk you into anything; don’t expect to find your dream car immediately, it could take months of searching”, etc. etc…….
Within less than an hour, he called me on the phone. “Mum, I’ve found my car!”
“What did I tell you?” I groaned.
He immediately interrupted me. “I know, but I’ve found a red Holden, a manual, just over a year old, way below market price and still under new car warranty. I’ve already been approved for finance, so long as you will put your name on the loan with me.”
What could I say? My boy was right. I also knew that my Dad had again guided his grandson to this car, just as he had with his own old car. Dad was a “Holden Man”; my son had found a Holden. The car was red; Dad’s favourite colour (and also, luckily, my son’s!) The new car was a manual, my son’s preferred choice, although very rare in this model of car. My Dad would drive nothing other than a manual.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Dad’s car would be traded in on the new car, so the day my boy was to collect the car, he drove home after work, allowing plenty of time to remove his personal belongings from Dad’s car. He took his little brother with him, telling me he still had a fair amount of petrol in the car and would take my younger son for a final drive in his old car.
I was at work that day, but would be arriving home before my boy would be leaving to collect his new red car.
Shortly after, my son phoned me; he had crashed the old car! He assured me that neither of them had been injured, even though I could hear my younger son, he was only six at the time, crying in the background.
With my heart where my stomach had been, and my stomach now located in my throat, I went to rescue my two boys, somewhere on a gravel road which ran alongside the river, a road that we could see in the distance from the back of our home.
When I reached the scene of the accident, it was difficult to imagine what had happened, with both of my son’s waiting beside the car, not far from the side of a straight stretch in the road. The car was parked slightly in a sugarcane field and at first glance appeared to have no damage to it.
My eldest son was angry with himself, saying he must have been speeding and hit a pot-hole in the road. When I looked along the road, there was not a pot-hole in sight. The car had flipped over and righted itself in the sugarcane field.
Once my stomach and heart had relocated themselves back into their correct positions, we were able to calmly drive my two boys and Dad’s old car, now sporting a broken windscreen, home.
Later that night, as my son reflected on the day’s events and we all puzzled over how the car had flipped over on a straight stretch of road, without pot-holes, my son told me something that he felt was strange about the accident and had been playing on his mind.
Although at first he had though the car must have gained speed, he had later remembered having slowed down to point out to his little brother where our house was, in amongst the trees and up in the hills. We could see the road and river from our home; we could also see our home from the road.
The road running alongside the river was, and still is, a very quiet road. My son remembered slowing down considerably, as there was no other traffic in site, to point out where our house was.
He also remembered feeling something happening to the car. He knew instinctively that there was something amiss, and had time to put his arm around his little brother for protection, before the car had time to flip over.
The whole incident had happened, as he described it, “in slow motion”.
Now, I never spoke to my son about my belief in the spirit world, as he had only been a boy of eight years of age when my mother had left us. He had told me at that time that he was afraid that his grandma might appear to him and it would frighten him, so I assured him that his grandmother wouldn’t do any such thing, as she would know he was afraid and wouldn’t wish to scare him, but the day the car flipped, he had his own theories about the accident, which he shared with me.
My son told me that he believed his grandfather had given him a “driving lesson” as such, showing him how quickly and unexpectedly an accident could happen if he didn’t keep his wits about him. He told me that the whole incident had been “other worldly” and he had been trying to find a logical reason why it had happened, knowing full well that he hadn’t been speeding. He also believed that his grandfather had protected both himself and his little brother during the “lesson”.
Dad’s car eventually became scrap metal. Dad didn’t want anyone else to own his car. He had left his car, in his own way, to my son, and he’d arranged every incident in such a way that his wishes would be fulfilled.
A co-incidence of events? I don’t believe that for a minute!
Wherever you are, Dad, your grandson thanks you for leaving him your car. 🙂