The eldest of my siblings is eleven years older than me. We call him ‘Bud.’ I think Bud was working as soon as he could walk, so when he was a teen, he bought himself a Bonneville. It wasn’t new, but it was the prettiest car I’d ever seen. When he brought it home, the white convertible top was down and the beautiful blue paint was waxed and perfect.
I asked Bud if he’d take me for a ride, and of course he did. Back then seat belts were not common. I don’t know if they were even made back then, and the front seat was a soft bench seat, allowing me to sit on m knees, arms wrapped around Bud’s neck, wind blowing in my almost white hair.
And where would a teenager with a new car go but to the A& W Root Beer stand. Bud was always a good-looking man. His hair was light brown with blond streaks, thick and straight, and the girls loved him. And of course he melted hearts when he brought his baby sister to the drive-in root beer stand and bought her a Junior Mug of Frosty Root Beer. He knew the way to my heart!
I miss that Bud. And that Bonneville. And that Root Beer! Now I live fifteen hundred miles from Bud. I drive a fuel-efficient mini-station-wagon, and rarely drink any kind of soda. But I can still taste the cold sweetness of that frosty mug. And I can still see the pride in Bud’s eyes as he drove his first car, and how pleased he was to be able to pull out his wallet and buy something with his own money.
Bud followed his dream and now owns his own construction company. He built himself a beautiful home, and has a big family. I often brag on him. I still love him, but my best memory of him is that day when he let me put my feet on the front seat of his new car and drove me through town wearing a smile. In my memory, that was his greatest success, fulfilling that first dream.