WAITING IN MY DRIVEWAY to be put through its paces was a ruby red 2013 Ford Taurus SHO AWD,
the “super high output,” slick, souped-up sport version of one of America’s most popular cars since the Taurus was introduced in 1989. Its traverse-mounted “Ecoboost” 365 horsepower V6 engine with 350-lb.ft of torque catapults this car from zero to sixty in 6.6 seconds, and its six-speed “SelectShift” automatic transmission with “Paddle Activation” means Ford’s top-of-the-line Taurus is meant for a Mario Andretti—not a grandmother of five.
“Wow!” my budding car enthusiast grandson marveled. “How fast can it go?”
“One-forty,” I replied.
“Can we go…”
“No,” I interrupted in a clipped, no-nonsense tone.
“It’s bee-u-ti-ful,” my granddaughter squealed. “Just like Dorothy’s ruby slippers!”
The children jumped in and wriggled into the charcoal black, leather-trimmed seats with Mayan Grey Miko® suede inserts.
“This is real comfortable,” my grandson said. “I bet it goes great at one-forty.”
“You’ll never know.” '
“Can we keep it?” my granddaughter pleaded.
“No, honey. It’s just here for the week, for me to review. Besides, this car isn’t meant for multigenerational
families like ours.”
“What’s a multigrain family?” she asked.
“Multigenerational, silly,” her brother corrected.
“It means more than one generation. There’s Grandmum—she’s the first generation—then us, we’re the third, then Dad and Uncle Win are sandwiched in between.
“That’s what I said!” my granddaughter sighed. “We’re a multigrain family!”
As sleek and powerful as the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO AWD is, let’s face it. As a grandmother of five, I don’t have much use for a car like this.
Or so I thought...
FATHER WINTER AND MOTHER NATURE had some sort of seasonal spat (or perhaps Mother had PMS), but whatever was going on between them wreaked havoc for gardeners this year. Easter was the last Sunday in March and so bitterly, unseasonably cold that my grandchildren had to wear their winter woollies instead of their new spring outfits. April showers were tinged with sleet. And yet, crocuses, the harbingers of spring robed in their colorful petal-bonnets, burst through snow-crusted flower beds; carpets of yellow daffodils, cheerful gaggles of tulips, and lilac trees resplendent in their royal purple regalia, likewise arrived on
schedule. Spring was breaking through.
It was early in April, the first day in six months that temperatures crested fifty. I pulled on my gardening gloves and set out with rake and spade to awaken the flowerbeds from their long winter’s nap. The sun was shining, the robins singing, and I half-expected Mary Poppins and Burt the Chimneysweep to jump out of the chalk drawings my grandchildren had drawn on the driveway.
Soon the prongs of my rake caught a vine buried just under the earth’s surface. I put down the rake then, desiring the sensual sensation of warm soil between my fingers, peeled off my gardening gloves and started pulling the vine out with my bare hands. It traveled the whole length of the garden before winding around a stand of birch trees and climbing skyward like Jack’s beanstalk.
“That’s enough!” I exclaimed as I broke off about thirty feet of vine and brushed the soil from my hands. A speck of dirt got in my eye and I rubbed it out. I sneezed—no dainty, ladylike sneeze, but an explosive
ahh-kerchoo that required the back of my hand to wipe my nose.
The next morning, I woke up with an eye the size of a golf ball, nostrils swollen shut, and a face the color
of watermelon pulp. The vine was the root structure of a massive poison ivy plant.
I called the doctor. “Come immediately and we’ll fit you in,” his nurse instructed.
“I’m prescribing prednisone pills,” the doctor said as he examined me. If it’s worse by
morning, I want you to go straight to the emergency room.
The swelling and itching did get worse through the night—way worse—and I didn’t get a wink of sleep. The instant I got the grandchildren on the bus, I jumped into the Taurus and took off for the hospital.
“Don’t be foolish. I’ll drive you,” my son yelled after me as I tore out of the driveway.
“You’ve got work,” I shouted out the window. “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine, it’s no big deal.”
But the further away I got from home, the bigger the deal it became. The hospital is about a half-hour from my home. By the time it occurred to me that I could go into anaphylactic shock, it was too late to turn back. What if I passed out? What if I lost control of the car? What if I couldn’t breathe!
Two cars in front of me was an elderly lady taking hers out for a walk and the car directly in front of me, also driven by an elderly driver, was to content to crawl along. It seemed an eternity before I got to a dotted line to pass. Seeing as best I could through eyes practically swollen shut that the coast was clear, I gunned the pedal and shot ahead and I am here to tell you, the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO goes from zero to sixty in 6.6 seconds. Or possibly even a tad less time.
I got to the hospital E.R. and didn’t have to say much, nor did the nurses or doctor, either. The expressions on their faces said it all. I looked like an escapee from the Little House of Horrors—you know, the Broadway show about the flower shop with the plant that feeds on human flesh…except in my case, it obviously was man-eating poison ivy. After a failed attempt or two to find a cooperative vein, I was pumped with enough intravenous prednisone to float a barge. Still, it was three weeks before I finished my oral dosage before I felt like I had returned to the Land of the Living.
I'VE DONE A LOT OF THINKING about this car since then. No, it won’t fit five grandchildren under the age of twelve. Frankly, the Ford Taurus SHO is designed for someone who wants a smooth, effortless, responsive drive; someone who likes to feel the wind in her face and soar like a bird. Someone who wants comfort and luxury in a
four-door sedan. Someone who has reached that point in her life when it’s time to put some icing on the cake, and have your cake and eat it too. Someone, say, who just turned sixty last month and didn’t do it particularly gracefully. Someone who has finally come to realize that no matter how many grandchildren she may have, she doesn’t have to take them all in the car at once.
You know, maybe I could get used to a car like the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO after all.