by Kate Ward '23 on September 8, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor

Creative Non-Fiction

a red truck
photo creds: pixabay

Most people would say that there isn’t anything funny about death or losing a loved one however, when my grandfather passed I ended up inheriting what turned out to be something quite funny. My grandfather used to drive a red 2008 Cadillac, it has four seats and it belongs down in Miami with an eighty-year-old behind the wheel headed towards their weekly solitaire game. Or it should have some mid-fifty-year-old man shouting Billy Joel lyrics on the way to a seven a.m. tee time. My family and I call this car the red rocket. Despite being fairly old, this car is (what my Mom would call) zippy. 

So, once summer hit I started taking the rocket to work, windows down, music up. The music that flowed from the car was everything but what an eighty-year-old in Miami would listen to. It was an eclectic mix of Bad Bunny, Steely Dan, ABBA, Logic, Kendrick, and the occasional Piece the Veil song. A twenty-year-old driving her grandfather’s car, heading to work at a children’s art camp. It’s ridiculous. My Mom got frequent text messages along the lines of “Saw Kate driving the caddy today!”
To that I would respond, “Okay but did they like the Bad Bunny I was playing?”

Like any teenager or young adult with the ability to drive and a fast car to do so, I started abusing the power gifted to me from my grandfather. I ended up buying an absurd amount of snacks and ice cream which earned a laugh from my Mom as I would pull into the driveway, Efecto by Bad Bunny thrumming out of the window. She thought it was incredibly ridiculous and my Dad thought it was great because he ended up bumming some of my snacks. 

Aside from working at the art camp, I also worked as a nanny. The two kids, ages six and two, were immediately obsessed with the car and decorating it. They also wanted to be driven everywhere (that did not happen). The two year old, every day on our walk would see some other red car and immediately shout out “Kate’s car!”
Wrong. If there isn’t a bag of Spicy Doritos (the purple bag, of course) in the passenger seat and a flat Celsius in the cupholder, then that isn’t mine. I remember when I first started driving the rocket around, I desperately wanted to make it my own. After getting a phone holder and Aux cord,  I wanted stickers and trinkets to hang off of my rearview mirror. Towards the end of the summer, my StabiliTrak and braking system needed to be serviced. My Dad got in the car and looked around, pointed at the moth sticker on my glovebox, and asked, “What is that?”
“Moth sticker from art camp,” I replied with a smile. 

He chuckles a little and shakes his head before pulling away.

I’d like to hope that my grandfather is looking on and laughing from wherever he is and not cursing my name for decorating his beloved sports car and playing music you “can’t sing to,” as my grandmother would say.