The lesson: stolen hubcaps

1977-1980_pontiac_lemans_grand_prix_wire_spoke_hubcaps_1_pensacola_29280329

I have always been a straight shooter. Honest to the core. I was raised that way. My parents were and still are devout Roman Catholic, so we follow (or try to follow) the ten commandments to the best of our abilities.

There was once where I did kind of sort of almost break the law. I was seventeen at the time, and in the ownership of my first car. It was a 1968 Pontiac Beaumont. Google it if you hadn’t heard of the make, it was beautiful. A two door with the small V8.

Back then, most cars came with hub caps. At the time, all the rage was cool rims and wide tires. I had whitewalls from Canadian  Tire. Nothing fancy. The car sported real nice hub caps, and I didn’t even  want rims…until some bastard stole my wheel covers. Did I mention the guy was a bastard? I was furious!

I was explaining this all to my buddy when someone must have overheard us. This huge bearded guy came over to the car. He explained how he heard that I got robbed, and said that he had the perfect set of wheel covers for my car. He lead us over to the trunk of his car. (This was after dark on a Friday night) When he lifted the lid, he had a ton of assorted hub caps, wheel covers, etc just sitting there in his trunk. He showed me a set of wire hubcaps, said they came from his Pontiac Bonneville, the one that he wrecked along the highway just a week ago. He said that he wanted  $25 each. I jumped at the chance. I never thought that he could have stole them. I never even thought that maybe, somewhere in his trunk, sat the original hubcaps that came with my beloved Beaumont. I ran  to my car and installed the wire basket wheel covers. He was right, SHARP!!!

I drove around all evening, as proud as a new father (well perhaps not quite that proud, but I was only 17, so maybe close to that proud) and eventually went home. The next morning I brought my dad out to see my great purchase. My dad’s reaction was opposite to what I expected.

“Do you know that those hubcaps cost over a hundred bucks each?” he asked. I explained that the guy, who had a trunk filled with wheel covers, actually wrecked his car and was selling parts; to which my dad replied…”From his trunk? He is selling things from the trunk of his car in a dark parking lot and you trust the guy’s story?”

My dad went on to say “Maybe the cops are looking for this guy. Lots of cars have recently been  vandalized, maybe cops see you with those hubcaps and arrest you.”

He frightened the hell out of me. Jail? I couldn’t take jail. I hate group showers. Still do! I was so scared I wanted to throw the covers away. “You can’t throw them away, you spent your entire two month’s allowance on  those covers (this was 1980, my allowance wasn’t much!), you can’t throw them away. I suggest that you hide them for awhile, a year or so, or even until you decide to sell the car.” What was he saying? My car looked so good with those covers on the wheels, but not good enough to make it worth sharing a cell with some large, perhaps gay convict named  Bubba, so up in the attic went my wheel covers, all four of them. I drove my car without any covers for an entire year, and then, when I had outgrown the car, I took out the beautiful wire basket wheel covers and put them on the car. I sold the car to the first person  who came along. He loved the car.

I later found out that someone  had robbed the wire basket wheel covers from the car again.  This time it wasn’t my problem. Thank God. This was the last time I ever bought something that could be hot, and that came from the trunk of a  mysterious man’s car, in a dark, deserted parking lot on the outside of town. Harsh lesson, but it could have been worst.

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