The Jaguar in the Driveway

When I was a kid, my parents bought a Jaguar.  To the best of my recollection it looked like the MkII sedan in the big picture above.  Well, except it was dark blue.  And to be honest, its condition was more like this one:

In any case, my dad drove it home, and I remember following with my mom, and her commenting on how it sounded “like a percolator coffee pot.”  They pulled into the driveway, my dad parked it beside the driveway — in the yard, really — and it never ran again.

Well, it never ran again in real life, anyway.  After it had sat for a bit, my dad gave me the go-ahead to play in it.  In fact, he showed me how to work the clutch and shifter, and which pedals were which, and told me it was “my” car.

“My” Jaguar.  Man, I loved that car.  I would go out and play in it for hours.  I discovered sticks of incense in a door pocket and they smelled exotic.  And I drove that car everywhere.  I’d always start in our driveway, and pull out gingerly, but before long I was screaming along a winding, tree-lined, Alpine race course, between somewhere and somewhere else, holding off the Mercedeses and Chevrolets and flat-out ruling the roads, bouncing in the red leather (or pleather) seats, lips wet with spittle from making full-throttle sounds for too long.

I’m not sure how fast that Jaguar went, but it was somewhere between 200mph and the speed of light.  I never lost.  I won LeMans, I’m pretty sure.  Twice, if I remember right.  I know I won the Indy 500 at least once.  I’d never heard of the Baja 1000, but that Jaguar would’ve eaten it for lunch.

I’m not sure how long we had it, it might have only been a summer, it might have been a couple of years.  I’m hazy on that particular point, but I remember being devastated the day that I saw Dad talking to a couple of strangers out by “My” Jaguar, and it was followed by being loaded on a flatbed and carried away.  All it left behind was a black spot where the grass never grew again, and my imaginary trophy case full of imaginary trophies.


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