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Jeeps and Fords and Chevys, oh my!

Visiting the Big 'R' to cover the monthly Cruise-In last weekend started me thinking about my own "vehicular memories".

My late dad loved to talk about glory days spent on his Harley, the one he had bought second-hand from his little brother Dan.

"Boy, I sure wish I had me a 'motorsicle' again," he'd say with a wistful gleam in his eyes.

Mama's typical response: "Now, you know you'd just go and kill yourself on it if you had one, Joe."

No, we never got to go on thrilling "motorsicle" rides, but we did have a Jeep, the genuine Army kind – olive green and no frills.

It was the perfect vehicle for jumping terraces on the back forty, offering we three girls and any visiting cousins a down-home version of Six Flags' best rides.

For tamer trips, the Killough family traveled en masse in a station wagon – that necessary mode of family transportation long before the days of the mini-van or SUV.

Our particular wagon was very big and very green. It got stuck in the mud or drowned out during heavy rainstorms at least three or four times a year. Daddy affectionately dubbed it "The Green Lizard".

On our trips to visit Mama's folks in Tennessee, I would always curl up in the very back of the Lizard with my coloring books, crayons and storybooks.

Later, big sis Deb drove Sara and me to school in a tiny, deep blue Buick Opel. How the five of us endured long summer trips in its cramped, non-air-conditioned interior is amazing now (we've become spoiled over the years, obviously).

When my hubby and I were dating, he drove an old white Ford Maverick – a sort of "red-headed stepchild" to the Ford Mustang, I believe. It was kitted out with an 8-track tape player. We'd jam to Rod Stewart and Elton John (back in the days when they REALLY rocked) as we cruised to Monkey Town to watch a movie.

My own first car was an orange 4-door Chevy Chevette. I never had to worry about getting a ticket in that car, bless its little cast iron heart – that old-style four-cylinder engine was doing all it could to hit 55 mph.

I've driven many other, nicer vehicles since then, but that little orange auto (which certainly stood out in South Dakota snowstorms, I might add) holds a special place in my heart.

My mom currently drives a big burgundy Crown Victoria, formerly pampered by Daddy's cousin, Arthur. It's a little like driving a tank (perish the thought of parallel parking).

Still, the Vic is certainly roomy, rides comfortably – and unlike my Chevette, allows you to break the speed limit with almost no effort.

(Just ask Mama about the time she was cruising up Highway 50 doing 90…)

Speaking of Mama, we'll be throwing our own beloved "Lead Foot" an 80th birthday party this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the Union Fellowship Hall in Honoraville.

Her actual birthday is Jan. 20, and if you can't make it to the party, send her a card or note to 3261 Joe Killough Rd., Honoraville 36042. She'll love it!

Angie Long is the lifestyles reporter for the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.