When I was in high school, my dad bought a brand new 1968 Mercury Montego MX Brougham. It was bright orange with a black vinyl top. It was very sleek and sporty, very out of character for my dad, who was a pick-up man. On rare occasions, I was allowed to drive it to school. I had a 55 Chevy, but by then, it was pretty much a rust-bucket that spewed smoke and backfired at the most inappropriate time. I ended up driving it, unsuccessfully, in the demolition derby. The Montego was way cool. With anyone else behind the wheel, it would have been a babe magnet. For me, not so much.
I usually had a couple of fellow miscreants riding with me, even though my parents had strictly forbidden me from “running up and down the road” wasting nineteen cent per gallon gas. I was supposed to drive straight to and from school. In retrospect, I am sure that my dad realized that was never going to happen. On those days when I had the Montego, lunchtime was miscreant cruise time, sans girls. It was not like the lousy schools now with their closed campuses, metal detectors, and armed security. About the only controls put on us were that the teachers took roll sometimes.
One cold Idaho winter morning I set off chasing the school bus. Just as I accelerated past it I hit a patch of black ice. Many southern readers (as if I have many readers from any region)probably have no idea what the heck that is. Let me just say that once you have experienced it, you will never forget. A few hundred yards in front of the bus, I went into a flat spin. I did several 360s and miraculously stayed on the Interstate without hitting anything or rolling over. It was totally luck, as at 16, I had zero driving skills under normal conditions, let alone careening down the highway at 80 MPH, with two caterwauling passengers. Luckily there was no traffic other than the school bus.
When I had spun to a complete stop, so did the school bus. It had to stop relatively short in order to avoid t-boning me, as I was sideways in the road. There were 55 faces staring straight at me. I don’t think the girl was impressed, nor was the bus driver, who happened to be someone that knew both me and my parents well. Needless to say, I rode the bus every day for the rest of the school year.