Sunday, November 2, 2008

Old Betsy

1970 Ford Fairlane

2008 Lexus

My frat brother, JD, had a 1970 Ford Fairlane when we were in college. I don't care if it was winter or summer... he would put the key in the ignition, start that car up, and have to wait about ten minutes before it would kick in gear and we could actually go anywhere. When he turned the ignition off, the car would stutter and shake from side to side for a minute before actually shutting down. JD was one of two brothers on my pledge line that had a car back then.

Many guys refer to their cars by women's names (at least they did in the late 70's and early 80's) and he always referred to his car as "Old Betsy". He'd say, "Don't worry about "Old Betsy"... she'll make the trip." And, she did..."Old Betsy" got us through 15 mad crazy weeks of pledging. She also got me and JD up and down the highways of Central Pennsylvania through Southeastern Pennsylvania and back many, many times.

Of course, you know us being guys, we clowned JD about his car every chance we got and some of the jokes were so cruel that even I... with my no car, no drivers license having self, had to laugh. JD would always retort, "That's alright, y'all rode in my car, didn't you?" He was right. When we needed to make a food run, it was "Old Betsy" that took us into town and back. When we wanted to visit another campus because there was either a party or someone had pledges, it was "Old Betsy" that drove us, sometimes six or seven deep to our destination.

My other frat brother, "Hollywood" had a Red Firebird and he wasn't as free with his car. You had to be wearing a skirt to ride with him. JD told me once, "That's alright brother, one day when I have my MBA. I'm gonna be living large and y'all won't be laughing at what I'll be pushin' then." So, let's flash forward to now...

JD made good on his promise. He got his MBA and has a cushy job for the federal government. He is married to a beautiful AKA sister who also has an MBA and is doing pretty good for herself. I went to visit them a couple of weeks ago. They are one of only three black couples that live in a cul de sac in a tony part of the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. They have a gorgeous home and in their garage, they have matching black Lexuses. His has the Kappa Alpha Psi plate on the back and hers has the Alpha Kappa Alpha plate on the back. This is the only way you can tell the difference between the two cars.

Well, sitting out in front of their home in that neighborhood is... you guessed it... "Old Betsy". He still has that car and he said that he had it completely rehabbed... new engine, new everything... and it runs like a charm. I asked him why he still had that car after all these years and he said something profound... "That was my first car, good brother (he always calls me that) and it's a reminder to me of where I was in case I ever get a big head and think I'm more than what I actually am. Keeping this car, keeps me humble and I always want to remember to be that... humble."

And, I always want to remember the lesson he just taught me.


Somebodies Friend said...

Very good lesson Keith, I try to be humble and I know if I'm not talkin' to God on a regular basis that I can take my will back in a second.

Material things are nice, but like your buddy said "You must remember where you came from."

I have eaten so much crow and been humbled so much that I think it would be very hard for me to forget where I came from.

SLC said...

Thanks for sharing the lesson. It's amazing how many college kids can fit in a car. I've been with up to nine strategically placed friends. Strange, but no CAR we drive these days can stretch that far.

Thanks again.

ZACK said...

You're a good friend, Keith. You are just as big of a man for always staying in touch with JD.

Great story!

The F$%K it List said...

Great lesson. I think that is the problem with so many young people today.

Look at that fool a$$ comment Souljah boy made, totally ignorant of his past.

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