It's all so true, you never do forget your first

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Conventional wisdom, popular culture and old adages never fail to remind us that you'll never forget your first.

You remember, she had those curves -- those gentle, tantalizing curves. And in all the right places.

Sleek and stylish. Classic beauty lines. You wanted to be seen with her and let everyone know she belonged to you.

And of course, she was fast. Oh, baby, she was fast. Oh, yea ...

Yep, your first ... it doesn't matter whether it was your first love, first kiss, first hit, first home run, first house or first car. You'll always remember.

My first -- my first car, that is -- was a 1966 Ford Mustang. I'd saved up my money from working at Wisconsin Farms Delicatessen to buy a car that summer between my junior and senior year in high school. Heck, I was willing to spring for anything with four tires and a running engine just to drive to school and leave the parent carpool behind.

However, my mom and dad convinced me to wait. Look for a bargain. Find something safe and in relatively good shape. Yep, I was figuring on a

"granny car."

But my parents were the ones who found my first love parked along a Chicago side street with a for-sale sign tucked unceremoniously under her wipers. The guy who had owned her had been sent to Vietnam and his parents had no place to park another car.

So with fewer than 10,000 miles on the odometer, it cost me $1,650 -- about equivalent to my monthly bundled cable bill these days -- for a cool, classic 1966 Ford Mustang.

Cue the Ides of March. Sing it with me ... "I'm your vehicle, baby, I'll take you anywhere you wanna go ..."

And why am I reminiscing about all this now, you might ask?

Because I thought I saw her Saturday at the Children's Miracle Network Car Show at the fairgrounds

in Greencastle.

Wandering among the 130 cars there for the annual show sponsored by the Greencastle Walmart Distribution Center, I literally stopped in my tracks as I spotted her distinctive rear end, accented by a vanity license plate reading "1 Hot '66." Yes, there in all her grandeur was a metallic burgundy beauty -- a 1966 Mustang GT Coupe with a 289 engine.

Could it be? ... It wasn't my first, of course. After all, the odds that it could have been were astronomical.

An accompanying sign told me Al and Brenda Riggle of Clinton were the lucky owners. And my mind raced to hatch a clever plan involving a 401K that I have 60 days to roll over, the Mustang and a dream road trip.

Quickly I texted photos of the car to my friend and recent partner in crime.

With my heart urging, "Yes, yes," even though my head was advising, "No, no," she fanned the flames of my desires.

Make those 401K funds work for me, she suggested, buy the car, take the trip-of-a-lifetime and get some kicks on Route 66. Then come home, resell it and restore the funds to the account -- all before that 60-day window closes and the IRS knows any better.

Buy -- use -- sell. Such a perfect plan. You know, the kind Newman and Kramer always cooked up before the "Seinfeld" epilogue kicked in and everyone got all moralistic.

Yep, I could give the Riggles a call. Yes, I could throw that 401K dough at the once-and-future car of my dreams. And yea, we could jump in and hit the road like Tod and Buz of the old "Route 66" TV show.

Then we could come home and peddle it to some other car enthusiast on Craig's List or eBay. Couldn't we?

But would I really do all that just to relive the joy of my first? Would I?

Hmmm ...

I'm thinking, I'm thinking ...