Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Memories

When I was 16, I received the Christmas gift that every teenager clamors for. My first car.

My Mom had been toying with the idea of buying me a car for quite a while. I guess I grew up spoiled, because it was always understood that at some point I would get a car. It's no secret Mom and Dad were not hurting for money, so it was just one of those things we automatically started talking about when the time came. I just didn't know how serious my Mom was just then or when I'd get one. At some point we found a key chain with my name on it, so we bought it for 'my car keys.' And just held on to it for months.

We looked through the used car ads on a regular basis and checked out anything of interest. I wanted a small car since it would be easier to learn how to drive. Yes, that's right - I didn't have a license and I didn't know how to drive, yet we were car shopping?! Most of the used cars were clunkers. Too much money, too many miles, too beat up. Being a typical teen, I didn't want to be seen driving a piece of junk! My Mom didn't want to spend a fortune on my first 'learning' car either.

Then, we found it. We saw an ad for a 1984 silver Nissan Sentra. It was only four years old. It had 38,000 miles on it. It was clean and smoke free. And they were only asking $2800! I think my parents looked at it first. Then they took me to see it. And I liked it. It was small and me being so short, it was easier for me to see out of it. I got behind the wheel and idled down the street (haha!) to see how it felt. The next day or so, my Mom told me that they called the man to buy it and someone else had already bought it. I had an inkling of doubt because my Mom was well known for these types of fibs!! MANY times she's pretend to 'forget' or something was 'sold out' only as a deterrent. But then I kinda forgot about it and we kept on looking through the sale ads.

Fast forward... I believe it was Christmas Eve. My Mom and I had gone to Canal Villere, a grocery store that has since shut down. The son of my Dad's co-worker was cashier there and we were on friendly terms with him. My Mom was busily unloading the cart and he turns to me and says, "Melanie, what's wrong with your car? I see it at the dock all the time." Or something along those lines. You see, my Dad worked at a fuel dock, and did all the maintenance on our vehicles during his free time in a big warehouse at work. I was caught way off guard when the cashier said this and mumbled, "Not my car?" And I clearly recall my Mom edging her way in front of me pushing me behind the cart, mumbling something, and changing the subject.

Of course, it was too late. My wheels had started turning!! Could my Mom really have gotten me the car after all? Was the 'it's sold' another ploy to surprise me? Hmmm!

I was on pins and needles after that. Just like a little kid waiting for Christmas! We opened gifts as usual that Christmas Eve. No mention of a car. After we all went to bed, I did what every nosy teenager would do. I got up and went digging. The only thing I could think of that would have some proof is my Mom's checkbook.

And there it was. In the check registry she had written someone named 'Lipari' a check for $2800. The same amount as the car! I kept thinking, "OMG I can't believe she bought it! Did she really buy it??"

Somehow I managed to go to sleep. I woke up reeealy early before dawn and looked out my bedroom window to find that my Dad's car was gone! There was only one place he could be. So I watched and waited. Before too long, I saw headlights. They turn into my driveway. And it's the car. The 1984 silver Nissan Sentra.

I went back to sleep for a few hours.

When I got up, there was a small wrapped gift under the Christmas tree. I tried to hide my excitement, because I wasn't supposed to know! But I did know!! I opened the box, and there was my "Melanie" key chain with a set of keys. My car keys!! And in the driveway was my car. My Mom had wrapped red crete paper around it and tied a red bow on the roof. Awesome.

Later my Mom told me she had whispered to the cashier "I'm going to kill you!!" after he spilled the beans. I never told her that I had figured it all out. No one knew... until now.


  1. What a lovely Christmas story.

    Your parents were amazing. The hardest thing for me to do after buying a gift is to keep it a secret. I am so bad about that.

  2. What a great Christmas memory!

  3. Melanie! Yayayayay! You're in the Best of Holidailies with this post!

  4. awwwwwwwwwww what a wonderful gift and how funny what your mom said and did lol. this was one of the best i have seen . so what did you win?? i bet you were shocked. sweetie like i said your stories are all so wonderful to read and enjoy it let me get to know my Friend and what she was like then to what she like now.