Friday, August 27, 2010

All that and a bag of chips...

Her name was Betty.  Betty S.
Juni named her from the letters on my license plate.
Much like the photo here, except she was even cooler.
She had a maroon top to match the pin striping.

Not as shiny clean as this model.  We don't have a lot
of pavement where I come from.

I got Betty when I was in the 12th grade.  She cost $700.
My parents paid half, and I used my permanent fund
dividend money to pay the other half. 

My dad installed about 34 new alternators and starters
before she finally gave up the ghost....dead in the dorm
parking lot of my first year at the university--
three hours away (one way). 
Thanks Dad for making those trips.  :)

Betty was a member of our circle of friends.
Juni had a car, but as my father would say
"The Rice Rocket" couldn't hold that many folks.
And the back floorboard of her Datsun B-210
was rusted out and you had to be careful not to put your foot
through to the ground.

And Sheri wasn't allowed to have friends
ride with her.

So Betty hauled us around.  In style. 

I have one specific memory that is legendary in
the Popper family. 

"Val--The Road Kill."
(kids--don't try this at home)

It just so happens that for whatever freakish reason,
I was voted a school Homecoming princess in my senior year
(I am sure it had something to do with my sweet ride...)

I got the classic "ride around the track deal during halftime" ride,
and even had a sash and crown.  No sceptre though...

The next day, Acinom, Juni and I were
over on Stacy Drive, the Johnson County of Soldotna
(for you local folks).  It was a Sunday afternoon
and I remember in those days I boycotted showering and
all around good hygiene on Sundays.  I was dressed
in men's boxers (before they were trendy) and a sweatshirt.
Lookin' sweet.

One of them said I should hop on the hood of Betty
so that I could relive my glory moment of the day before.
So I did. 

I sat on Betty's hood like I had good sense, and began
my best Miss America wave to the neighborhood.

Apparently Juni couldn't handle Betty's power upgrade
from the Rice Rocket, because she started going pretty fast.

When I say pretty fast, I mean, I suddenly found myself
sprawling out on the hood, men's undies flapping in the wind.

I rolled over, like you would see in the movies
and grabbed on to the windshield wipers for dear life.

I remember screaming
while Juni and Acinom laughed. 

Then disaster.

Juni turned the corner onto the main street, and hit the curb.
Did I mention it was a big curb?  Really big.  Maybe
the biggest curb ever made...I'm sure of it  :)

I was bounced off the hood like a pebble
hitting the windshield.  Honestly, I am lucky I
didn't get run over.

There I was, on a main street in a town
with not too many of those, in a mangled,
crumply pile of road rash flesh.

They pulled over and I remember Acinom
jumping out to open the back door
and shove me in.

It was such a stupid thing to do
that I was scared to tell my parents.
I didn't want to.  But I am sure they
could tell by my bloody legs and the
way I hobbled around.

The good news is I have since made a full recovery.
And I haven't ridden on the hood of a car since.  :)