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Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Brand New Car!!

A Brand New Car!!
It is Christmas Time, I know by all the commercials I see of Brand New Cars in the driveway with giant ribbons on them; presents for the dutiful wife.
Oh, she is so surprised, so happy.  All the neighbor wives are jealous and all the neighbor husbands will be sleeping on the couch.  What a great generous present.
Mrs. C just watched this year’s first Brand New Car commercial and informed me that if I ever surprised her with a Brand New Car with a ribbon out in the driveway she would, in the words of my Grandma Gus “Crown Me.”  Why?
“First of all, if we need and can afford a Brand New Car, I want to be part of picking it out, the make, style, color and accessories…NOT YOU!
Secondly, the Brand New Car (or brand new used car) Christmas present is the grown-up version of socks.  You’re going to need them anyway, might as well make it Christmas present."
Think about it, the Brand New Car Christmas present is only for people that are so rich that it is no big deal, or for people that absolutely need a Brand New Car and go into hock for it.  Might as well throw a ribbon on it and call it a present.  Most women I know would think you are a cheapskate who simply dodged getting an actual Christmas present for their wife.
All of this brings me to a famous family story which is told in one of my books that you will never read and in fact I discourage anyone from reading, “The Christmas MG.”
It was 1955.  My father always drooled over the classic MG TF sports car.  However, with three children not yet in high school the classic MG TF sports car would be completely impractical, and the expense as a second car was out of the question.  Still a man can dream, and my pop clearly dreamed of motoring to work in a top down classic MG TF sports car.
On Christmas that year, any presents for my dad were hidden away.  He watched contentedly as his wife and three boys joyfully tore through their presents.  When all was done he asked,
“Isn’t there a present for your dear old dad?”
“Oh, yes there is, we saved it for last.  It is in the garage.”
Dad grew noticeably excited and you could see running through his head,
“Is it possible?  But we can’t afford this.  I mean I want it, but it is not practical and how will we pay for it?  Maybe they’ve been saving their allowance and grocery money for a few years.”
So, dad went to the garage still too stunned to think logically and he had the belief that just maybe, somehow, there would be a Brand New MG TF sports car in the garage.
And there was. 
In the middle of the empty garage was an 8-inch model of the very MG TF classic sports car my father so coveted.  My brother yelled out,
“Oh no, it shrunk!  I knew we should have had it Sandforized (giyp)!”
Oh yes, we all had a good laugh at dear old dad’s expense, and he took it well.  He smiled, claimed “You almost got me” and then went back inside to open his real presents which were hidden in a closet.
Yes, he took it well, but he never again got the same gleam in his eye when he saw an MG TF sports car.  It was a great gag, but he not only lost a car, he lost a dream. 
I don't know what happened to the toy model...I never saw it again.
Sorry Dad…it was Jim and Chris’ idea.
Years later when I turned 18, I spent $200 and dad threw in another $600 so I could own a used 1958 MGA sports car.  I think dad lived part of his dream through me.

My Dad and a young Cranky

Merry Christmas!


  1. I almost thought there was going to be a car in the garage for your dad that he could actually drive :) Maybe a Christmas miracle :) I too wonder about those commercials for new cars this time of year. Really, who joyfully buys a new car any time of the year? Its usually out of necessity for most of us that we do, not wanting to take on a payment we really don't want to have for the next God knows how many months of payments.

    Merry Christmas to you too!


  2. I'm with Mrs. C as far as wanting to pick out that kind of gift for myself - and only after we won the lottery. For years DH picked out my cars (used) and I finally put my foot down. He had picked good ones, but I had my own ideas about what I wanted - that's when I bought my little green LeBaron convertible. (It wasn't new either.)
    Did your dad really think everybody scrimped and saved to buy him a play thing? Not too realistic was he? Or was he putting you guys on?

  3. Great story. I'm with Mrs C too. Now, about MGs - in my early days I lived in the next district to the factory where the MGs were made. I learned how to drool around that time. Happy Days!

  4. That's very similar to what I did to my kids. one son got a six inch Harley-Davidson motorbike and the daughter who always wanted a white mouse in a cage got one. a stuffed mouse on a swing in a plastic cage. Oddly enough, both kids were happy with their gift.

  5. Great story! I can't imagine getting a car as a gift from my spouse as he wouldn't know how to contact the insurance company before driving it off the lot.

  6. SD feels the same way about socks as Mrs C does about cars ... I've told everyone to buy him Christmas cakes this year - I LOVE Christmas cake :-)

  7. My husband has the exact very same dream as your father. And one Christmas, I gave him the same present -- only I gave it to him in a box in his lap!

  8. It's only when you become an adult and start having what you believe to be unattainable dreams that you begin to understand that your parents must have had them too. I'll bet he was 'tickled pink' to be taken for a drive in your brand new used car.

  9. I've watched those commercials and have always thought giving a car to yourself of a spouse for Christmas was a dumb idea. A present shouldn't come with years of high payments.

  10. I've never gotten a car for Christmas, but I'm with your wife on this one. I want to be part of the team that picks out what I want. I'm just saying.

    Your poor dad. What a disappointment.

    Have a fabulous day Joe. ☺

  11. Such a big purchase would need to be made together, but it can still be a Christmas gift, from both of you to both of you, perhaps.

  12. Bud once surprised me with a new car (with the mandatory huge bow on top) when we were out with friends to celebrate my birthday. I, of course, was so busy saying goodnight to everybody that I didn’t even notice it when the valets brought it up. We had discussed getting me a car so he knew what I wanted & he paid cash so there were no payments!!

  13. Goodness Mrs. C and you brought up some sound reasons not to surprise someone with a new car. Kind of felt badly for your dad. That was kind of like getting a fake winning lotto ticket.
    I dated a guy who had a MG Sports car like that. He was a fireman so it was mine to drive the 48 hours he was on duty. Loved it.

  14. I would have been so cool if you guys had hit the lottery and bought your dad that car. But it was a good idea to get him the model.

    I wouldn't buy a car without taking the spouse. It's a big commitment for us. We've had a few new cars since we've been married, but these days we let someone else break our cars in for us.

  15. I wouldn't mind getting a new car from my husband as a Christmas surprise if we had suddenly won millions and millions in the lottery. In any other situation, I agree with you on the sock analogy.

    Don't you look young and handsome behind the wheel of that sports car!

  16. When I got interested in sports cars I lusted, LUSTED I tell you, for an MG-TD. 'Twas not to be but many, many years later I owned an MGB for about a year before I had to sell it back so I could buy a Corvan (ugh) for our move to Arizona.

  17. Oh, I forgot to mention. The above comment came from the ring around the planet Pleth.

  18. Wow. All those years, I thought the car-gift commercials were sweet. Darn those buttholes for buying a loved one a car!!! Somebody needs to take them to the woodshed.

  19. That's a great story but a really mean thing to do to your dad. Poor him. I think you definitely made up for it with your sportscar tho. :) As far as getting a car with a ribbon on it? I'm with Mrs. C. If it's for me. I need to have a say in every part of it. :)

  20. I do hate those practical jokes. They're mean. They're cruel. I just hate them!! One year my husband told me he'd bought me a "big rock". I didn't have a diamond so I was hopeful and excited. I'm sure you can figure out the rest.