The yellow Ford Mustang had obviously had a hard life since being manufactured in the late ‘90s.
If only one of its fenders hadn’t been red, it would have been the spitting image of the car I salivated over between the ages of 12 and 15.
I forget how I came to fall in love with Mustangs. For most of my life, we have been a Chevy family, so maybe it was subconscious teenage rebellion.
My first color preference for Mustangs was hunter green. Then a girl who was several years older than me in school got a yellow one, and I thought it was the most beautiful looking automobile that ever came off an assembly line.
There’s no telling how many times I stood on my grandparents’ front porch whimpering as it sped down the hill near their house.
I declared to anyone who would listen that I would have a Mustang exactly like that one day.
My mother was equally determined that no overgrown banana with wheels would ever darken the door of her carport.
The year that I turned 13, the Mustang’s look radically changed. I pitched a hissy fit loud enough to wake up Henry Ford in his grave.
I thought the new ones were too boxy, resembled a spaceship and were downright stupid.
However, I made my peace with Mustangs several years later when Daddy and I found a used blue one at the local Toyota lot.
That car and I racked up a lot of miles together over the next seven years.
I never wrecked it, and it never quit on me. Well, actually I might have backed into a couple of things. The battery died once, and the alternator acted up another time. I was never left stranded, though.
I also had to contend with the windshield wipers coming on at random times, but that was a small price to pay for getting to UAB and back safely for four years.
All of these memories flashed through my mind as the Mustang flew by my little Toyota this week.
Because of an intrusive 18-wheeler, I lost sight of it for several miles on the interstate, but eventually a yellow speck appeared on the horizon. I kept it in view until I made one of my last turns for home.
I spent the rest of the ride thinking about youthful dreams and how sometimes it’s for the best that they stay just beyond reach.
I’m at a point in my life right now where I’m trying to figure out if I’ve reached the end of the road with one of my mine.
As summer started this year, I thought I could feel something new and exciting just around the corner. So far all I’ve accomplished is a lot of looking back and letting go.
Then the yellow Mustang roared back into my life for a few minutes and reminded me what it was like once upon a time to be absolutely certain of what I wanted.
As an adult, I think I’ve forgotten that it’s okay for dreams to not make sense. Dreams should be so bright that they almost blind you and carry you away so fast that you don’t have time to think about how much gas they’re guzzling.
And yes, every now and then a long lost dream gets close enough for you to see its red fender and you realize that it isn’t everything you used to believe it was.
But even though you’re smart enough to let it ride off into the sunset without you, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting out a little whimper as you watch it go.