This Mother's Day, I'm appreciating the Motorhead Mamas in my family and how they made me the woman I am today. You see, I come from a long, proud line of sharp- tongued, red-blooded and lead-footed women. My grandmother once drove her pale pink Aries K up onto the sidewalk, proceeded to flatten a stop sign and immediately instructed us in the backseat to "quit your worrying."
(Grandma's weapon of choice, the Aries K)
Years later, I witnessed a local police officer telling my mother, "Mrs. Motorhead, I don't have the heart to give you another ticket." In response, she ripped him a new one– reminding him that was her tax dollars (& ticket fees) that "put his kids through college, so he should be grateful!" It's no wonder that when I was first pulled over for speeding, I turned to the poor, unfortunate red-headed fellow and told him I wasn't "going to be ticketed by a Leprechaun." That was a fun afternoon.
Mom wasn't always a such a barrel of monkeys behind the wheel, but everything changed when she traded her '82 Nissan Sentra (what a beauty) for a '86 Saab 900S.
It was this car that made my mom a terror on the roads, a faithful Saab enthusiast and about 300x happier on a daily basis. And I was lucky enough to witness this transformation from the right front passenger seat.
It usually started when we'd open the sunroof. In the late 80s, sunroofs weren't common as they are now, so when that sunlight permeated our poor, Vitamin D deficient East Coast foreheads, it was pure elixir.
Then we'd pop in a cassette tape (if you're under 35–Google it). Mom's favorite at that time was "Arethra Franklin." Never mind the fact that the preppy white lady mistook the Queen of Soul for a conduit for semen and urine, because no matter what her name was, she reigned supreme in that 900S.
One problem was that Mom also had a penchant for applying her cuticle cream while driving. Now I'm no safety expert, but I'm pretty sure that greasing up a steering wheel is pretty much the last thing your State Farm agent wants to see you doing. So between the "r-e-s-p-e-c-t" and the slippery handling, there was never a dull moment in that car. Considering the fact that, at that time, most Connecticut mothers were streaming (if you're over 45, look it up) Simon & Garfunkle and gingerly coasting from one tennis lesson to another– I consider myself completely blessed. We had a ball in that car and Mom showed me that a car is not only a vehicle of transportation but a vehicle for pure elation. Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.