Another four years passed, and then on September 26, 2007, I received a phone call at approximately 9:00 a.m. I did not recognize the number, and I couldn't answer my phone as the morning roll call was in progress. After the conclusion of roll call, I retrieved the voice message the caller had left which went something like this: "This is Dorothy Donovan calling. If you still want that old Duster, you can call me back." I sat for a minute dumb-founded as I let it sink in that it had been eight years since I first tried to buy "that old Duster." Since that time, we had moved out of the subdivision to another county, and I had almost forgotten about it. I figured that the nephew had finally received the Duster that he had been waiting for.
I called Ms. Donovan back and told her that I would be there in about ten minutes to look at the car. My mind raced with questions: What condition was it in, did it still run, had it been wrecked? On my way to Ms. Donovan's, I called my wife Kathy at work and told her about the phone call. My wife, being as much a car lover as I am, had only one comment: "You had better not come home without that car."
Upon arriving at her house, I could hardly wait to see the car again. She answered the door, and we began a very lengthy conversation. I ended up becoming friends with one of the most unique people I have ever met. Dorothy Donovan was an 82-year-old widow who was extremely spunky and humorous. She explained to me that she had a bad knee and had only driven the car twice in the last two years. She decided that she was "going to sell the car instead of letting it rot away on flat tires." She told me that she happened to open up her jewelry box on her dresser to find the business card I had given her four years earlier. She hoped that I was still interested because she would rather see me get the car than some "young punk that would hot rod it"-I had to laugh.
Ms. Donovan was surprised...
Ms. Donovan was surprised when Ron showed her the pictures of the finished car and it had steel wheels on it. In her words, "I had to pay extra for those silver ones!"
We went out to the garage, and there it sat-covered in a coat of dust, but still looking pretty good to me. She explained that she had come out to the garage on several occasions and started the car to keep the battery up. She climbed in, pumped the gas and it fired right up. She backed it out, and asked me if I wanted to take it for a spin. I climbed behind the wheel and backed it out. As I drove through the old neighborhood, I couldn't believe I was finally behind the wheel of the car that I had first seen 11 years earlier and had attempted to buy 8 years ago. The car drove amazingly well, and the odometer was showing the original 56,000 miles. I couldn't wait to get the numbers-matching, 318 car with bucket seats and floor shifter home.
I returned to Ms. Donovan's house and sealed the deal. She told me her only concern with me buying the car was that she didn't want me to take her to Judge Judy. I told her I didn't understand what she meant. She said, "Well, I'm old and I watch a lot of television and those people are always going to Judge Judy over cars that break down." I assured her that would not happen, but I did have one question for her. What happened with your nephew getting the car? She responded, "Well, he's 62 now and he already bought another car, so he doesn't want it anymore!" I didn't see that one coming. I had always envisioned the nephew as a youngster who I hoped would appreciate the car for what it was.
I called my wife and arranged for her to meet me at Ms. Donovan's to pick up the car. I told her to bring the camera to take photos because nobody would believe the little old lady story. When we arrived to pick up the Duster, Ms. Donovan asked my wife two questions: Did I get him in trouble for buying this old car? And you're not going to take me to Judge Judy, are you?