Walking and Coveting–(Perusing the Classifieds When the Wife is Away)

For those familiar with my love of , and fascination with, automobiles (see , for example, this ),  it is probably not surprising that I would occasionally peruse the classifieds for various objects of desire.

In my most recent weekly perusal of my favorite site among the links you see on the right, I happened on an entry which seemed to exactly address what I have recently been yearning for.  As this particular website is global in scope,  most of the entries within the ‘search’ parameters I use are geographically impractical, and, at best, serve as fodder for my ever-growing collection of “pics” of cars I have either owned; driven; or dream of owning.  This one, however, is singular in that it depicts an auto merely 26 miles from my abode:












It’s a ’67 Beetle.  It’s original in every respect other than a slightly modified engine.  Among VW  aficionados, the ’67 model year is the most desirable, as it is the first year for sealed-beam headlights; a driver’s side door armrest; two–speed wipers; a 12, rather than 6-volt generator (no alternator until the 70’s); a larger engine (1500 cc’s rather than 1300); a larger clutch; 4 more horsepower (54); and back-up lights.

It is also the last year for the classic, sculptured bumpers…replaced in the ’68 model year by large, horizontal, clunky-looking bumpers which began the descent of this cars’ “look” from ‘cute to….’clunky’.

My interest in this little item is further piqued by the fact that it has the factory original, hand-cranked steel sliding sunroof.

I must have this car.  And the planets agree with me.  The day I came across the ad, my daily horoscope, which I habitually consult daily, (along with the days’ “Dilbert” and “Get Fuzzy” cartoons) was :

And, today:

Now, the “pushing” begins.  I “believe” I can do it.

However…….my wife, the light of my life; the wind beneath my wings; etc., etc., etc.,……says: “Nein!

Her discounting of the fate so plainly and logically put forth in the horoscopes above is painfully matter-of-fact:


a)  “We do not need four cars”

b)  “I do not want you to raid the 401k”

c)  “Next year, your Cavalier will be paid off, I will need a new car of my own, and we would need to sell “Mad Max’s BumbleBee” first.


e)  (See (a) and (d))



Refutations assemble themselves quietly in my fevered mind:

a)  “You do not need twenty-seven pairs of shoes, either.”

b)  “My 401k is woefully inadequate now….I see no harm in reducing it’s adequacy further’

c)  “You can drive my Cavalier…I will have it fumigated.  Selling BumbleBee now is preferable to selling next year because of the  devaluation of the dollar brought on by the coming QE3; QE4; QE5 the Fed is sure to roll out.

d)  “It’s a ’67 VW!

e)  (See (d).



Now that I review these refutations, I grow less confident that they will prevail in this battle.  Sadly, I have brought a ‘dream’ to a ‘logic’ fight.


The “67 VW  I long for will have to remain where it is, as wallpaper on my computer monitor.   Like a center-fold from Playboy, it will remain parked on my screen, enticing; titillating and…..unobtainable.

It may be a sin to covet,  but a guy can dream.  She has her” Bee“….and one day soon, I will have my “bug“.


Walking My Dashboard with ‘Magnetic Mary’

(Apologies to Ed Rush; George Cromarty and Ernie Marrs )

My passion for automobiles and driving approaches the ardency of my faith.  I do not think it sacrilege, therefore, to occasionally combine these passions in prose or poetry.  The fact that I am here to write it, to me, is proof that faith abides, as I have had far more than my share of “mishaps” both on four wheels, and on two.  I offer my version of this favorite old “ditty” as a humble expression of my belief that a  faith properly acknowledged is complimentary to, not exclusive of, our interests; passions or avocations.

I recently uncovered this ancient statuette in a small box I have carried with me for decades in the trunk or saddle bag of every vehicle I have regularly driven or ridden during that time.  It is at least as old as I am, as I can recollect its’ position on the dash of every vehicle my father drove as  I progressed from infancy to college-age.

I remember it on the the dash of the ’52 Plymouth; the ’53 and ’55 Chevrolets; the ’57 Buick; the ’62 Dodge Dart; the ’65 Mercury Monterey; the ’69 Ford Country Sedan wagon and even the ’73 Olds Cutlass coupe.  I lost track of it after college, both because I no longer was a regular passenger in my fathers’ cars and, because the  metallic expanses of the dashboards of yesteryear steadily shrunk with the mandate of safety-promoting vinyl padding….. there was no longer a metal  surface upon which her magnet could obtain a purchase.

It may have been a result of cleaning out his last vehicle after his death, or the clearing out of his garage, that it came into my possession along with the old pen-knives; small screwdrivers; inoperable lighters and obsolete fuses which occupied the small tin box with her.

Now that I have resurrected her from her sarcophagus of tin,  I honor the Spirit which she exudes by restoring her place on the ‘mantle’ of my conveyance, as thanks for the protection she has afforded me through the years, however hidden from sight she may have been.

And now, back to that “ditty”  In the fifties, Ernie Marrs wrote what then, used to be regarded as an example of a “novelty” song.  Those of you who grew up in the fifties and sixties may recollect its’ refrain:

“I don’t care if it’s dark and scary,

Long as I have ‘Magnetic Mary’

Ridin’ on the dashboard of my car

Through my trials and tribulations,

And my travels through the nations,

With Magnetic Mary I’ll go far.”


(For a feel of the melody, refer to the the “Cool Hand Luke” clip below)

Through the years, there have been many iterations; addenda; and modifications to the verse.  I regard it not as a copyright to infringe or steal, but more as a snippet of Americana which is part of the “public domain”.

Here goes nothin’:

Like my Dad, I used to ‘tipple’

It’s a miracle I’m not a cripple

Mary always seemed to see me through

Wrecks uncounted I’ve survived

Beat odds no bookie could contrive

‘Cause Mary kept my soul in her purview.



Driving privileges suspended,

Countless rides smashed and upended,

Cops would scratch their heads and talk of “luck”

I’d just smile and brush the glass off

Pocket tickets they would tear off

Made sure she didn’t leave with the tow truck.



As time went on  she’d ride with me

And I got more maturity

There still were ‘no-fault’ mishaps I endured

Guilty parties who had hit me

Even those who drove cheap ” hoop-dee’s

Were always, due to Her Grace, well-insured.



Now she rides a place of honor,

Though I have placed no ‘velcro’ on her,

Her perch is regal and her hold is firm,

For on this vinyl cold and dead

She rides a small metallic sled

Left Turn Mary

And physics helps her keep me ‘tween the berms.



‘Check Engine’ lights no longer vex me,

‘Blind spots’ in my mirrors, no worry,

When horns blare and ‘birds’ flip; she doesn’t mind

Speeders passing she don’t see

She just keeps her eyes on me

And every other thing that lies behind.



With her halo chipped and faded

And her raiment pale and tainted

She’s a portrait of  a Holy ‘Dorian Gray’

Keeping yet her demure smile

Right Turn Mary

She’s absorbed my troubled miles….

Magnetic Mary  for me shows the way



I’m gentle now with steering input

No panic stops, and I don’t ‘leadfoot’

To do so would disturb her sacred place

Atop my dashboard she is charmin’

And I no longer need my ‘Garmin’

‘GPS’ is in the Grace of Mary’s face.



Now my license is pristine

I owe it to this figurine

I even get much better mileage now

It’s comforting, serene and pleasant

That her glow, (once iridescent)

Assures me that my safety is her vow.