My senior year in high school I bought my dream car; a metallic beer-bottle brown 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. It was 383 cubic inches of muscle car with chrome-plated side pipes, G-60 wide tires, and bench seats. It rumbled when it idled. As God as my witness–it rumbled! The kind of deep rumble you don’t feel any more with cars–the kind that starts low in your chest and spreads throughout the rest of your body. Just sitting in it caused your testosterone levels to rise. It gave you a little tingle in the pit of your stomach and had a high pucker factor when you floored it and it stayed in one spot while the rear tires smoked. The smell of burnt rubber permeating the air caused male adrenaline levels to spike another notch. Pulling up beside other classic muscle cars of the day (1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda, 1969 Dodge Challenger, 1970 Chevelle SS, or a 1967 GTO) at stop lights and revving engines in preparation of a race brought on an adrenaline induced hypnotic trance in a testosterone-laden young man with too much power and too little sense.
A couple of years after graduation I joined the Navy and left this treasure at my mother’s. It sat beside her house untouched for over three years. After I was discharged I came home to an unrecognizable dirty heap that wouldn’t even start. But I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on it—a new battery; new points, plugs and tune up; new belts; oil change; new head gaskets; and flushed the cooling system. Miraculously it fired up and purred like a sleeping lion. A little more elbow grease with soap, water, and wax and it sparkled like a freshly polished diamond in the sunshine. I vacuumed the interior and added a new pine tree air freshener, and it was ready to hit the road. I loved that car.
And so it is with daughters. They require hard work, consistent maintenance, and attention to detail in order to weather the storms of growing up. When left unattended in the elements of life they rust, corrode, and fail to operate properly and safely. Our daughters need the same tender, loving care that we lavish on a car that we treasure. They need the same consistent preventive maintenance and attention to detail that we give to all the mechanical gadgets or tools we love and rely upon. Without that loving affection and care from their father, many girls end up as an “unrecognizable dirty heap,” treasures left to the ravages of our cultural climate.
When I got married I traded that car in for a more practical ride, but I still have dreams about that car and “riding through mansions of glory in suicide machines.” Fortunately, I was blessed with a baby girl to lavish my care upon.
Check out Rick’s book, That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers His Daughter, at www.betterdads.net