Car poem: Galaxie Ride

with thanks to Susie Morice for the car poem inspiration on the Ethical ELA Open Write today

Galaxie Ride

One thing I knew
from the beginning:

We were a Ford family.

Granddaddy could recall
his first glimpse 
of a Model T.

Daddy always spoke
with a trace
of yearning for 
the white Thunderbird
he gave up
after I was born.

I came along in the era
when cruising the Earth
was not enough;
governments sought
to be the best
at hurling humanity
into space.

In the hazy gray memories
of my early days, 
one bright pop of color
stands out:

Grandma’s car.

Ford Galaxie 500
fire-engine red
meant for racing

curious choice
for a grandmother.

She loved it.

Granddaddy bought it used
never imagining, I suspect,
that it would carry us
through three decades.

No power steering
—that silver steering wheel, 
a full cardio workout—

no AC

—sweltering in southern summers:
when I was twelve 

I left a stack of 45 rpm records
on the rear window dash
and they melted, 
rippling up
just like ribbon candy.
Grandma would tuck a Kleenex
into her cleavage
to absorb the sweat—

seats trimmed in red leather
upholstered in scratchy red fabric
studded with silver dots
—I like to think they were stars—

I cannot remember seatbelts.

Over the years
the red fabric
faded to pink
and began to split.

By that time I’d learned to drive
having practiced
with the old red Ford
on the old dirt road
of my father’s childhood home.

Grandma said:
“Honey, if you can drive this,
you can drive anything”

—and she was right.

The Galaxie and me. Grandma took this photo. Can you guess her favorite color-?

Daddy with his pride and joy. I believe the T-Bird had a red interior.

4 thoughts on “Car poem: Galaxie Ride

  1. Fran,
    My initial reaction (and forgive), was “oh good God, does it get any better than this?” I LOVE this one, well I love them all and you know I already agree with Margaret. Such memories. Such writing/poetry. Now here’s my advice (for what it is worth) roll some M.D. and “come up” with a roll that would allow you to write this poem and enter it or a revised, if necessary version of it, in the contest!! It is a treasure. And your grandma and the stars on the fabric, I know just what you mean, even though the only red car I kind of had ( fiancé’s graduation gift) was an awful 1967 Buick Opel, a true lemon. But my father had all kinds of big cars that toughened one’s being in so many ways ie those huge steering wheels and no AC and no power steering, and I ADORED Thunderbirds and would love one even now. Turquoise for those. One boyfriend had one, his dad’s, and it was gorgeous! I want to read this one over and over. How lucky you were to have those grandparents.


    • Janet – first, thank you for your gracious words. You are so energizing! Delighted that you enjoyed this poem. I actually found a possibility for MD but am not sure it can be reworked. Thinking on that, though…and I would love a T-Bird now, too! The turquoise ones are stunning,


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