Silver Thunderbird

Author: bbfan

Disclaimer:The characters are owned by WB and Shoot The Moon Productions. No infringement intended. The song 'Silver Thunderbird' was written by Marc Cohn and published by Music Steps Music (ASCAP). The song is sung by JoDee Messina and is on her 'I'm Alright' CD, which is owned by Curb Records. It was produced by Tim McGraw and Byron Gallimore.

Rating: G

Summary: A bittersweet glimpse into Amanda's youth.

Tissue Warning: This story includes the death of a family member.

Feedback: Yes.

Notes: Here is another songfic that I couldn't get out of my head. I would like to thank my two beta readers, Ceeg and Barnstormer. You guys did a wonderful job! Thank you!

***Watched him comin' up Winslow,
Down South Park Blvd.
Lookin' good from tail to hood.
Great big fins and painted steel,
Man it looked just like the Batmobile
With my old man behind the wheel.
Well, you could hardly see him from all that chrome
The man with a plan and a pocket comb
But every night it carried him home,
And I can hear him sayin', ***

May 1961

The sun was shining brightly, and a robin sat in the maple tree singing to its mate. The sounds of spring were in the air, and a warm breeze had settled in. Amanda, Katie, and Bobby Joe were lying in Amanda's front yard, looking up at the clouds. The ten-year-olds were taking a break from playing.

"Look, there's one that looks like Abraham Lincoln," Amanda said, pointing to a cloud. "See his top hat and big nose? Definitely, Abraham Lincoln."

"Oh, yeah, I see it. He even has a beard," Bobby Joe said, studying the cloud.

"Hey, there's one that looks like Snoopy," Katie exclaimed with excitement.

"I see it!" Amanda giggled. She loved 'Peanuts'. Searching the sky for more funny clouds, she heard a car coming up the road. Rolling over onto her stomach, she gasped at what she saw. Pulling into her driveway was the most beautiful silver car she had ever seen. The sunlight reflecting off the chrome made it difficult to see the driver. She slowly rose to her feet and started to walk toward the car. Only then, did she see who it was. Her father sat behind the steering wheel, his hair slicked back and neatly combed.

"Oh, my gosh…" she barely whispered.

Katie grabbed Amanda's hand. "Amanda, isn't that your dad?" she asked, squeezing hard.

Bobby Joe started to get excited. "That's Mr. West, all right." Walking over to the car, he approached the driver's side window.

"A Thunderbird! Mr. West, this car is twichin'!" Bobby Joe carefully patted the car, just to make sure it was real.

"It's a 1961 Ford Thunderbird hard top with a 375 horsepower engine." Carl West smiled at his young neighbor. He knew Bobby Joe liked cars.

"Mr. West, do you think I could have a ride someday?" Bobby Joe crossed his fingers for luck.

"Sure, but right now, I want to take my two favorite girls for a ride… that is, if Amanda is going to go and get her mother."

Amanda smiled at her father. "Oh, Daddy, I'll go get her right now." Amanda started for the house, but stopped and turned back toward her father. "Daddy, is this ours?" she asked in amazement.

"Sure is, Panda. Now go and get Mother. We have some cruisin' to do." He beamed with pride as he watched Amanda run into the house.

***Don't you give me no Buick Girl,
you must take my word
If there is a God up in heaven
He's got a silver Thunderbird.
You can keep your El Dorado
Man, the foreign car's absurd
Me, I want to go down
In a silver Thunderbird.***

Amanda saw the way her mother looked at her father. She knew that look. Her mother was trying to appear angry about the car, but she wasn't doing a good job at it. Amanda knew she would eventually forgive him for buying the car without her.

Carl noticed the silence in the car. He glanced at Dotty out of the corner of his eye and could tell she was angry with him. He had to say something or he would go nuts. Looking in the rearview mirror at Amanda, he smiled a reassuring smile. She smiled back and then glanced and nodded towards her mother, as if telling him to talk to her.

He cleared his throat, nervously. Taking Dotty's hand into his, he began his prepared speech.

"Dorothea, before you start questioning me about my decision to buy this car, I want you to know that I did shop around. I tried an El Dorado, but it was a little out of our price range. Nice car, just too expensive." He glanced over to see if she was listening to him. He saw a hint of a smile forming on her lips, so he knew he had her attention.

"I even tried a Buick. It was in our price range, but it lacked… pizzazz. I just wanted something that would be reliable, sporty, and fun. I believe I found it." After a pause he added, "So, what do you think?"

Dotty took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. She really loved the car, but she was still angry with him for not including her in the decision. She also knew that he wanted to surprise her and Amanda, so she turned to him and smiled.

"I love it, but next time, when you feel the need to replace this car, I want to be with you."

Carl smiled and nodded at his beautiful wife. He squeezed her hand and looked back at Amanda, who was smiling from ear to ear. She winked at her father, which made him laugh. She was so happy her mother had decided to forgive him, because she really loved this car.

April, 1966

***He got up every morning, while I was still asleep.
I remember the sound of him shufflin' around,
Right before the crack of dawn, was when I heard
Him turn his motor on, and when I got up they were gone…***

Amanda stirred in her bed, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She knew it was time to get up for school, but she enjoyed listening to her father get ready for work. It was the same every morning. He would shuffle into the bathroom for his morning shower and shave. Then he would tiptoe past her bedroom, talking to her mother in a hushed voice, about his upcoming day. She loved her parents very much and hoped that, someday, she would be lucky enough to have a man love her as much as her father loved her mother.

Hearing the Thunderbird's motor purring, she knew she had to get up. She walked over to her window and watched as it pulled out of the driveway. She really loved that car and couldn't wait until next week, when she was going to start her driving lessons.

***Down the road in the rain and snow,
The man and his machine would go.
Oh, the secrets that ole' car would know,
Sometimes I could hear him sayin'…***

A week later…

"Okay, Amanda, when driving in the rain, always remember to keep your speed down and at least a three- car length space between you and the car ahead of you." Carl smiled nervously as his daughter started up the road. He couldn't believe his 'Panda' was driving. Before long she would be going to college, getting married, and starting a new and wonderful life. It saddened him a little that she was no longer a little girl who depended on him for everything. She was becoming an adult. He had known it was inevitable, but it seemed to have just crept up on him. He wasn't ready to let her go, just yet.

"How am I doin', Daddy?" Amanda asked her father, without taking her eyes from the road. She would never forget this day for as long as she lived.

"You're doing wonderful, Baby. I don't know about you, but I sure could use an ice cream cone. Let's go to the new ice cream parlor on Washington Boulevard."

"OK, Daddy." Amanda smiled and proceeded to take them to their destination.

August 1971

***Don't you give me no Buick.
Girl, you must take my word,
If there is a God up in heaven
He's got a Silver Thunderbird.
You can keep your El Dorado,
Man, the foreign car's absurd.
Me, I want to go down,
In a Silver Thunderbird.***

Carl pulled the Thunderbird into the parking lot of the new car dealership. Even though the car was almost ten years old, it never failed in turning heads. It was a beautiful car, but it was time to replace it. He didn't want to, but for some odd reason, he was in a rush to do so. He wasn't sure why, but he felt he needed to do this.

He got out and started to talk to a salesman about the new foreign cars on the lot. After much discussion, Carl told the man that he needed to talk to his wife before he could make a decision. The salesman understood and walked him back to his car.

Getting into the car, Carl struggled to get a good breath. It seemed to happen a lot lately. He made a mental note to tell Dotty when he got home. Shutting the door, he pulled out and headed home. As he went around a curve he felt the first severe pain hit him in the chest. The second pain was excruciating. He pulled over and desperately searched for a piece of paper. Finding an old receipt in the glove compartment he quickly wrote, 'Sell the car. I love you.' The pain continued until he felt himself slipping away. All at once, the pain ceased and he felt at peace. "Dorothea…" came as a whisper upon his lips, as he passed away.

***Down the road in the rain and snow,
The man and his machine would go.
Oh the secrets that ole' car would know.
Sometimes I could hear him sayin'…***

September 1971

Amanda and her fiancé, Joe King, stood next to her mother in the middle of their driveway. They watched, in silence, as Mr. Adams pulled out and drove away in the Thunderbird. Amanda looked out of the corner of her eye, just in time to see a tear fall down her mother's face. She put her arm around her mother in support.

"I know this was hard, Mother, but it is what Daddy wanted." Amanda remembered a conversation she had with her father a few weeks before he died. "He said he wanted to get a new car. It would be cheaper to maintain."

Sniffling and wiping her eyes, Dotty looked at Amanda. "I know, Dear, but it's just so hard…" Her voice cracked.

Amanda knew this wasn't going to do. Thinking quickly, she asked, "Mother, why don't you come with Joe and me to Dooley's. You've hardly been out since the funeral. It will do you some good."

Dotty straightened up and took Amanda's hand. "No, you go ahead. I'll be all right. I still have some 'Thank You' notes to send out and I… I just want to be alone for a while. You understand?" She looked at Joe, hoping to find a little understanding, and she wasn't disappointed. She watched as he slowly walked over to her, his eyes never leaving hers. He reached out and wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly. Just before he let go, he kissed her lightly on the cheek. Turning to Amanda, he gave her a wink and walked down the driveway to the curb and his car.

"Of course, Mother, we understand." She hugged Dotty and whispered in her ear, "I'm really going to miss that car."

Dotty smiled at Amanda as she got into Joe's car. "Me too, Dear. Me too."

***Don't you give me no Buick.
Girl, you must take my word,
If there is a God up in heaven
He's got a Silver Thunderbird.
You can keep your El Dorado,
Man the foreign cars absurd.
Me I want to go down In a Silver Thunderbird. ***

The End.