It’s A Girl, My Lord, In A Flatbed Ford

“I want you to take me to the Ford dealer on Bell Road,” Mom announced after summoning me to the living room the other morning after The Price Is Right ended.

“Are you planning on buying a car?” I asked.  “I know Bill would really like one of those new Mustangs.”

“No, I’m not buying a car.  I don’t drive anymore, remember,” she countered.

“I know, Mom,” I replied.  “I’m just kidding.  Why do you want to go to a car dealer?”

“Not any car dealer, the Ford dealer.  Because,” she continued, waving a folded up piece of paper in my face, “I got this in the mail yesterday and I’ve won a hundred dollars and I want to go collect.”

“Really!” I exclaimed, reaching for the piece of paper.  “Are you sure.”

“Yes.  It says if the number on the letter matches the number in the scratch-off part, then I win a hundred dollars.  And it matches!” she finished with a triumphant nod.

I read the letter, which started out saying that they wanted to give her buckets of money if she would trade-in her 1998 Mercury Marquise.  She no longer owns this vehicle since she sold it when Bill and I moved here almost three years ago and then promptly, and happily, relinquished her driver’s license.  But the number in the letter did indeed match the number she scratched off near the address label and there was nothing in the fine print that said she had to show up with a trade-in to collect her prize.  The only part she didn’t get completely right was the fact that there were four possible prizes: a 42 inch flat screen TV, an iTouch, a 4-piece set of luggage, or $100 cash.

Just as I started to explain this to her, she stood up, grabbed her walker and headed toward her bedroom.  “I’m going to get dressed,” she called over her shoulder.  “We can leave when I’m done.”  And with that proclaimation, her bedroom door slammed shut and I was left alone in the living room holding the letter in one hand and my empty coffee cup in the other.

“I guess I better get out of my pajamas,” I muttered to myself as I put my coffee mug into the dishwasher before going to change.

Twenty minutes later, Mom and I pulled into the Ford dealership and parked next to the handicap ramp.  As I was making my way to the rear of my car to retrieve Mom’s bright pink walker, a friendly looking salesman named Rey came out of the showroom door and down the ramp and greeted me with a big smile.  He raised his hand in a friendly wave that stopped cold when Mom got out of the car, grasping the side of the car for support as she crab-walked towards me.  I yanked the walker out of the open hatchback and placed it in her path.

“Morning?” the salesman said.  Yes, he said it as though it was a question.

“Yes, it is,” Mom replied, rolling towards him.  He backed up the ramp as Mom rolled determinedly forward, inches from his shiny black Oxfords, while I brought up the rear.  He held the showroom door open and directed us to a couple of chairs in front of a nearby unoccupied desk, which he proceeded to occupy before asking, “How can I help you ladies today?”

“I’ve won a hundred dollars and I’ve come to collect,” Mom replied, sitting down.  She fished the letter out of her purse, then proceeded to shake it in Rey’s general direction.  He made a couple of grabs at the fluttering piece of paper as she continued to wag it back and forth before he actually got a grip on it and pulled it from her grasp.  He took a few moments to read it, then pulled out a blank form.

“May I have your name and phone number?” he asked politely.  Mom complied, then said with a smile, “I don’t want to buy a car or anything.  I don’t drive anymore because I’m 86.  I just want my hundred dollars.”

“I understand,” Rey said.  “How about that nice little Scion.  Do you want to trade it in?”

“That’s my daughter’s car and no, they don’t want to trade it in,  Right Patty?  It’s our only car,” she said as I smiled and nodded in agreement.  “I’m just here to get my money.  I’m 86 so I don’t need a car.”

Rey stood and gave us a shaky smile.  “I’ll go check on your prize with the Coupon Group,” he said as prepared to escape.

“Okay,” Mom said, grinning from ear to ear.  “I’d prefer cash but I’ll take a check,” she called after him.

Rey gave me a weak smile, then scurried away to the unseen, room that was no doubt relegated for covert operations conducted by the super secret ‘Coupon Group’ – and also for any employee that wanted a cup of coffee or a bag of M&Ms from the snack machine.  He returned a few minutes later with Mom’s letter clutched tightly in his hand.

“Well, ma’am, the Coupon Group isn’t available today so you’ll have to come back tomorrow.  They’ll be here after 1:00.”

“And I’ll get my $100 then?” she asked, rising from her seat and grasping the handles of her walker.

“Well, no, not $100.  You won the four-piece luggage set.”

“But I don’t want luggage,” she said with an exasperated sigh.  “I’m 86 years old.  I don’t travel anywhere anymore.”

As he held the door open for us, he handed me the wrinkled remains of the letter and offered a helpful suggestion.  “Maybe your daughter could come back tomorrow for you.  Just ask for me.  I’ll remember both of you, I promise.  Plus you’ll get the free scratch ticket and, you never know, you might win a new truck!”

“Right!,” I finally piped in.  “She can use that with her new luggage when she decides to take a road trip!”

“That’s okay, Patty,” she said as we made our way down the ramp towards the car.  “You and Bill come back tomorrow and when I win a truck, you can sell it back to them.  It’s probably worth more than $100.”



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