The Way I See It: The top is down and the road is open

A red Mustang convertible takes Michele Blais and her husband out for those perfect summer road trips

Our life can be seen as a series of stages.  We were children, teen agers, young adults, completed our education, early career, travel days,  raising children, and then they  move out  and we are empty nesters, retired.

This week we bought a red Mustang convertible and it feels like some of those youthful adventures are coming back into this phase of our life and it is really fun! We may have more cash and weaker bones, less daring, and more responsible and both times were and will be full of fun and adventure.

This is an exciting stage in our lives, as the boys are adults now and fine young men. As my darling enjoys his retirement and I continue to enjoy my work, especially the evenings and weekends off.

As a young woman before children I had a 1968 MGB convertible which I loved. I was living in Fort McMurray where the summers are short, however I made the most of it, with Marianne Faithfull cranked on the stereo, my long blonde hair blowing out the back of my ball cap, and driving down the highway to Lac La Biche on a Sunday afternoon just for a pleasant drive.  My time with the car was short but it left an imprint and I promised myself I would have a sports car again.

The time for revisiting this became when the boys reached adulthood and I would reward myself with a five-speed car, larger than an MGB, something punchy and cool. Maybe a Porsche, Nissan, Audi. The hunt began.

The only problem is my darling is 6’4” and his height does not lend itself well to small cars.  So we have been looking for the right car, and the reality was it was going to need to be shared.  Another compromise in married life: a vehicle for us both to enjoy.

The day it all came together my darling had spent the morning looking at convertibles and found them all to be too old, too big, too expensive or too hard to maintain. Disappointed, he returned home to find the Mustang sitting out front of our house looking very appealing.  He came and asked our friend about the car and she said she was selling it. His face remained lit up: a kid who scored five goals in the game; found money; got a new bike; you get the picture. It was the right car, right price and right there.

The allure for me for having a convertible is like the feeling I get when I am riding a bike in open space or being on a motorcycle; the  top down opens up the world to us in a glorious way. I have had some great trips with convertibles, a memorable one was in an old International Scout convertible from Banff to Jasper. The open drive was a very special way to enjoy that amazing scenery.  When I lived in L.A. I drove a sports car, and when I took my mom to Hawaii for her 75th birthday we rented a red Mustang. The friend I went with also has a red Mustang convertible. (There may be a connection between rentals and future purchases.)

There were times when my boys were younger when I feared this time in my life, that I would be so lonely, and unsure of the next phase. Now I know it is a great time in our lives, the lads love seeing us happy and having fun. I promise I will drive slower than I drove the MGB because with age comes wisdom. I know how precious life can be and how fleeting.

As several people have said of this new adventure for us: get out there and enjoy yourself while you can. Seize the day, enjoy the moment, be present, put the top down and hit the gas!

Michele Blais is a longtime columnist for The Morning Star, appearing every other Sunday. She has been working with families and children in the North Okanagan for the past 28 years.