Volume 19, Number 108, April/May 2016 The Ad by Anna Lemon
FOR SALE: Used once. Ridden many times.
“Hey, Mary, did you see this ad?” Jim said. He was leafing through the ads in the Sunday paper. The tiny ad was hidden away in the Miscellaneous section. “What do you think it is about?”
Mary looked over his shoulder and read the ad and laughed.”I don’t know but it conjures up all sorts of ideas. Maybe it’s some old nag of a horse someone is wanting to get rid of.”
The ad lingered in his consciousness. He kept remembering it all day. It tantalized him. Finally he could stand it no longer. He called the number to find out what was for sale. The address of the owner was two blocks away and she invited him over. It was only after he hung up the phone that he realized that he still had no idea what was for sale.. His curiosity was aroused more than ever. Over he went.
Molly Brown, a petit, spritely, greyhaired lady, opened the door and invited him in. Then she ushered him through to the garage where he couldn’t believe his eyes. There was a forest green 1965 Mustang convertible in pristine condition. It looked like it had just come out of the showroom. Jim turned and looked at Molly.
“What is the mileage?” he asked.
She promptly answered, “236,532 miles.”
Jim looked skeptically at her. It seemed low for the vintage of the car. “What is the price you are asking?” he said.
Molly looked at the car and he could swear the car flapped a sunshade. “Eight Thousand dollars,” she said.
Tom gasped. She could have asked and got five times that amount. At that price he could afford to own this beauty.
“Why so low?” he asked wondering what was wrong with the car.
She nodded. “It has a story,” she said. “Come and sit down in the kitchen and I’ll tell you.” She bustled around in the kitchen making a pot of coffee. As they sat down over the coffee she explained.
Her husband, Tom, had worked in the oilfields the summer after he graduated and earned enough money to buy his dream car - the convertible. He knew exactly what colour and make of car he wanted. It was his pride and joy and he cherished and babied it. None of the other boys had a car like his. He named the car Olive.
He started work in his father’s insurance office where Mary was working while she waited to start training to be a nurse. There was an instant attraction. What girl wouldn’t want to be seen with a handsome young man with a car like that. How her friends envied her.
The romance continued and blossomed all through her nursing training. In those days nursing students were not allowed to marry until after they graduated. Graduate she did and Tom waited impatiently for their wedding day. She, Tom and Olive formed an inseparable trio. They married on a fine spring day and Olive played a star role. Polished to within an inch of her life, Olive shone brilliantly as they drove away to start a life together.
Tom proved to be a very successful salesman in his father’s business and Mary nursed at the small hospital nearby. Tom polished the car every Saturday and fussed over Olive like the child they never had. She was inextricably woven into their life. They went everywhere in her - on sightseeing holidays, to work, going for groceries, to church, to the theatre. As time passed Tom drove the company car and Olive was retired to reside in splendor in the garage during the week and only driven on the weekends and for special trips.
Then Tom had a stroke and could no longer drive. The convertible was relegated to the garage. It no longer spirited them on outings but the kinship remained unbroken. Tom went down every day and polished and nurtured Olive while Molly, with a cup of coffee in hand, kept them company. No thought was ever given to selling her. She was part of the family. Sometimes Tom would sit in the driver’s seat and dream of driving off to see the mountains or some far destination.
Tom had died a year ago. Molly decided to take Olive out for a drive to the cemetery to visit Tom’s grave. Somehow it seemed fitting that the car should be part of the visit. Molly had never driven the convertible. That was Tom’s prerogative. It was so big compared to her little Toyota that she felt like she was driving a tank and vowed never to drive it again. She did, however, have to decide what to do about the car and its memories. Life was different now. They were no longer a trio. With or without Tom and Olive she had to get on with life. Olive was a constant reminder of the empty spot in her life where Tom had been.
It was then she hit upon the idea of the ad. She decided she would have some fun with it. The one who bought the car would have to be someone with a sense of curiosity to find out what the ad was about and someone who would love and care for Olive in the same way Tom had for all those years.
It was then that Jim decided that he had to have the car but he would need to talk to Mary about it. It would stretch their finances a bit but he thought they could manage it. He told Molly he would have to discuss it with Mary his wife.
Molly liked the young man. He reminded her of Tom when they were just married. Molly only wanted Olive to go to someone who would care for her the way Tom had. They agreed that he would bring Mary over to look at the car.
That evening Jim and Mary walked over to visit Molly and the convertible. Molly liked Mary the minute she met her. Olive purred happily when they took her out for a test drive. Molly smiled. It seemed like a perfect fit. Tom’s baby was now part of a new trio. She hoped it would prove as happy as the old one. Somehow she knew both Olive and Tom would approve.