July 23, 2013

The White Convertible Smart Car

Filed under: FEATURE STORIES,JOURNAL — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am



Hug for Sam, who is recovering from severe burns from a kitchen fire.


“I wonder if I might be bold enough to ask for a ride around the parking lot? I’ve never ridden in a Smart car.”

The question remained unasked.

As bold as everyone considers me, I didn’t have the nerve to pose the question to the thirtyish redheaded woman sitting behind the white convertible Smart car.

My husband Monte and I were in a small New York town enroute from our Pennsylvania home to his hometown in Northern New York, almost on the St. Lawrence River.

We had stopped at the grocery store because my husband wanted to check out the price of blueberries. He and several of his nieces were going to make pies for the Holland family reunion on Saturday, and he hadn’t had time to stop and purchase blueberries before we left home earlier this day.

When we pulled into the parking space I Monte mentioned there was a Smart car beside the driver’s side of our car. Upon examination Monte said it was a convertible.

I asked him to take my picture beside the metal nameplate on the car’s back, then sent him into the store. IMG_0664E2

“Are you going to wait here for the owner?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” I said, feeling the sun’s heat on my arms. I took a business card and wrote the following message on the back:

  • Glad we parked beside your Smart car. I am a descendent of the Smart family. (290 characters—too long for a Tweet message, and barely short enough to fit onto the back of the card)

I meant to find Monte in the store but couldn’t resist the urge to sit outside in the weather that had turned from rain-threatening clouds to blue skies accented by white clouds that only occasionally blocked the sun rays. A light breeze made being in the shade enjoyable.

I watched as a variety of Americana exited the store. Which one would claim the Smart car? I wondered as I watched an orange-shirted store employee collect grocery carts scattered throughout the parking lot.

  • Some walked down the right side of the pathway—I ruled them out as owners.
  • A family of four each carrying grocery bags? Probably not—they would be pretty cramped in the small car.
  • A woman with a medical style shirt. Not likely.
  • A young teenager. Ruled out.
  • A white-haired gentleman. Perhaps, but he turned toward another row of cars.

Monte came out of the store.

“The blueberries cost twice as much here as they did back home.”

A young couple exited the store.

“Not them,” I said.

Being atypically unrushed I gave no indication of moving from my spot. Finally I stood up, turned to Monte and said I guessed it was time to leave.

I missed seeing the red-headed woman exit the store, but saw her half-way down the row of cars.

As we followed her she reached the smart car and opened its door, put her bags in the car, and got in. My footsteps quickened and I reached the car just before she turned the engine on.

“Hi,” I said waving.

She hadn’t spotted the business card tucked firmly under her windshield wipers. I pulled it off and handed it to her.

I couldn’t tell if she was pleased or not. Her look said uncertainty, and she began opening he convertible top, as if she was ready to drive off.

“The Smart car appeals to me because I descended from the Smart family. Besides, it’s quite cute. Are you from Buffalo?”

I asked that question because Monte had noticed a dealership tag saying Buffalo.

“No,” she said. “But I had to go to Buffalo to find a Smart car dealership.”

“I lived in Buffalo during my teen years. Now I live southeast of Pittsburgh.”

She had warmed up.

“My name is Carolyn.”

“I’m Nancy.”

“Oh, I could tell you a short story. But you might be in a hurry.”

As she indicated she had time to listen she finished pushing the convertible top back. IMG_0663E3

“At the start of the War of 1812 the first privateer out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, used a ship called Nancy. He took his ship out once and made enough money to build his house in Portsmouth. The house is still being used.


“And the privateer’s name was Captain Richard Smart. And he was my ancestor.”

Nancy smiled.

I so wanted to ask her for a ride around the parking lot, but let the request rest.  As she drove away Monte and I entered our car and headed to our destination.

And I have yet to experience a ride in a smart car.





Shoplifting in Munich, Germany?


1 Comment »

  1. Smart cars are so in in Europe!

    Comment by Joan Myers — July 23, 2013 @ 8:58 am | Reply

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