When I was in elementary school, my mother had a pale pink Cadillac. She loved that car like no other. Dirt did not touch that car, inside or out. Mama made sure it was spotless. The Cadillac was kept in perfect working order with periodic maintenance. No one drove that car except Mama. It was off limits even to my father and, especially, my brother Larry.
My teenage brother wanted to drive that car in the worst way. He longed to take it out on the open road and see how fast it would go. Mama would have none of it, knowing how teenage boys were about cars; almost as dangerous as they were with teenage girls. That car was Mama’s baby and Larry wasn’t going to get his grubby hands on it.
My brother finally convinced Mama to let him drive the car to the local theater to see James Dean in Giant. The problem was that Giant was showing in Vicksburg, forty miles to the west. Larry did just what he promised Mama he wouldn’t do—he took her pink Cadillac out of town, and to make matters worse, he took four friends with him. To add insult to injury, those boys were smoking smelly cigars in Mama’s Cadillac.
Larry thought he had gotten away with his sneaky behavior when a cow in the middle of the road changed everything. Mama’s pink Cadillac and the cow made contact. Both the Cadillac and the cow suffered irreparable injuries. Luckily, no one in the car was hurt…correction; upset stomachs prevailed when everyone swallowed their cigars.
Mam knew something was up when a local highway patrolman brought Larry home. You could hear Mama screaming throughout the entire house. My father was afraid the neighbors would hear the obscenities she was turning the air blue with. He tried to calm her down. But once she realized Larry was okay, she threatened to make him not okay. “I’m going to kill him…oh, my beautiful car!” she hollered. Over and over she screamed, “I’m going to kill him!”
Finally, Mama calmed down, but she never forgot her pink Cadillac. And it was a long, long time before she forgave Larry for the demise of “Pinky.”