I Must Be A Redneck

Now this is not a Corvette story, but from some people's point of view, it is somewhat amusing and justifies telling. So regardless of how embarrassing it is, here goes.

Some of you have heard this story. I've even had strangers tell me that they have heard about it. It never seems to go away - just keeps hanging around - not stretched, embellished, or exaggerated - just stays around like an unwelcome guest. By now, I think half the people in town know about it. So let me set the story straight.

About 20 years ago, around 1990 or so, I bought a 1986 Jaguar XJ6. Now this was a nice car. It drove great, looked good, leather interior, pretty fast, very comfortable, good sound ... just all around a great car to drive. Now Jaguar had a reputation of having problems, but after talking to the previous owner, I felt good about its history, so I ended up buying it. Since I had already informed my insurance company that I was buying the car, they would mail the proof of insurance and bill in a week or two. All was good. So I was now the proud owner of a classy Jaguar.

Both of our daughters, Shari and Erica, were just starting to drive. I think Shari had just received her license and Erica was learning to drive. Living out in the country, kids start out on tractors, hay trucks, dad's pickup, or whatever they can drive down a country road. So one day, from what I can imagine was a considerable amount of pleading from Erica, mom finally broke down and let her drive it home from church. It's just about 3 miles away and mostly on back country roads. (Not nearly as far as the time Shari drove the go kart 6 miles down the back roads to a friends house and 6 miles back.) When they got home, they left the Jaguar sitting in the driveway in front of the house. Our driveway curves around the front of the house, under some trees, and then curves around back to the garage. (You get real good at backing a car.) It seems that in their 'great wisdom' the engineers at Jaguar thought that being able to shut the car off and take out the key without placing the car in Park, was not a priority. So, you had the ability to remove the key while it was still in gear or neutral. Well, that is exactly what happened. Ignition off - give the key back to mom - run into the house - "Guess what I got to do! I drove the Jaguar home!". Back then we had a quite large dog, Chocolate, who like to take a naps under the back of anything sitting in the driveway. She just liked to lay in the shade. I can only guess that's what happened, she got up and bumped the car. The day was also pretty windy and the driveway has a very gentle downhill slope right before the 90 degree bend around the big oak tree. So, sometime during the day, somehow, the car started rolling downhill, through the curve, down a 5 foot dropoff, slid under a big cedar tree limb, and centerpunched an oak tree right in the middle of the little kitty in the middle of the grill which mashed the radiatior up against the fan. The big cedar tree limb fell right back down behind the car and hid it so well that you couldn't see the car from 10-20 feet away. The Jag was brown and was well camouflaged back in the woods. We even drove within 10 feet of it every day while going down the driveway, and still could not see it. It was really well hidden.

When I got home work, Janette was gone, her Buick was gone, the Jag was gone, and Erica was sitting in the floor by herself doing homework. "Where's your mom?". "She took Shari to the ball game". (so she could practice sitting on the bench) Sorry, that was a dad talking. I once got called into the coach's office after yelling at the coach during a game - 30 points ahead - 3 minutes to go - and he won't put in the subs. But that's another story. "What did they go in?" "The Buick" "Where's the Jaguar?" "I don't know". My only thought was that it was stolen. So, when Janette got home and had no explanation of where the car was, I reported it stolen to the Sherriff's office. We hadn't even even sent in the insurance payment on it yet. We only had it about 2 weeks and had just received the bill. So that meant a mad rush to the post office to send in the payment and then call my insurance guy and tell him the bad news. The Sherriff had told me he knew of a known car thief that had a Jaguar that needed a hood and fender. I just knew that was where it was. This all happened on Monday. On Thursday, after no word from the Sherriff, I got a call at work from Janette. "I found the car" "Where was it?" Where did they find it?" "NO - I found the car" she kept telling me. It seems that when she was mowing the yard (always keep your wife a good starting lawnmower), the sun was reflecting off the chrome and she went to see what was shining through the trees. There it was, hiding there for 3 days. The most embarrassing part, other than having to repeat this story for the last 20 years, was calling the Sherriff and the insurance company to tell them that she found the car in our front yard. As it turned out, we had to get a wrecker to drag it back up the hill. The insurance company totaled it (they were afraid of an exotic car), so I bought it back, put on a new hood, grill (with a new kitty), bumper, radiator, a bunch of little parts, and a new paint job - looked better than new. We drove it for several years after that.