Wednesday, July 4, 2012
What's a Jaguar?
The Edwards family has a lifetime minister (not really like a prison sentence, I hope), and our minister, The Good Reverend Mahan Siler, picked Ann and me up at the Asheville airport on Thursday night. We would be guests in Mahan's and his wife Janice's home for much of our week in Western North Carolina.
The Silers are good people: wise and kind, generous and humble. As Mahan drove to the top of their steep drive in his Honda Hybrid, a practical and environmentally friendly vehicle that one might expect of the family minister, his headlights glanced another car in their garage.
I could have sworn that I saw a white convertible Jaguar, but my eyes often fool me.
"Nah. Couldn't be," I said to myself and continued our conversation about the flight and the weather.
Up went the garage door, and there it was: a 1995 white convertible Jaguar with tan leather trim in excellent condition. Well, I'll be. Yes. "That's a Jaguar," I say to Mahan.
"I'll let Janice tell that story," he says, laughing. "It's really hers to tell."
A story, in North Carolina, is a gift. Telling one's story is a right that other Southerners know to respect. Mahan was not putting me off. He was being mannerly.
Ann and I settled into our guest room with a lovely view of the rolling Appalachian mountains. In the night we heard dogs bark in the distance and in the morning heard the mountain birds chirp. In a whirr, a flock of wild turkeys (no, not the bourbon) landed just outside our window. Mahan and Janice called us up for breakfast on their porch.
After niceties about the flight from Seattle, I asked Janice about the Jaguar.
"We-ell," laughed Janice, "When we retired, I made a bucket list. I've always wanted to get a convertible, so I decided if I was going to get one, this was the time.
"I looked around town and drove a few, but none was right. We ha-ed a good friend visitin' from the beach, and I told her about my search.
"'We-ell,' she said, 'I'd like to sell you mine. A woman sold it to me for half the blue book price and I'd like to sell it to you for half its price now.'
"I never even looked at it," said Janice, "but I trusted her. We sat right here on this screened-in porch," Janice pointed to two loungers off to the side of our breakfast table, "and we made the deal. We shook hands on it."
Mahan spoke up at this point. "After our friend left," he said, " I said to Janice, 'Do you know what a Jaguar is?'"
"We-ell," said Janice, "I didn't know, so he showed me one on the computer."
"I just love it. I get lots of comments. The other day, I came out of the grocery store and a man was standin' by my car. Just standin' there."
"He said, 'Can I just touch your car?'"
"We-ell, he did. And he seemed happy. He said, 'Thank you, ma'am.'"