As I relaxed at home with family this past Labor Day Monday, I couldn’t help but to think about what the day really meant to me. To most people, Labor Day is a sort of “end of summer vacation day” where you don’t have to work. To my wife Cindy and I, Labor Day is always a special time of the year. This year, Labor Day fell on September 2nd, 2013 and it was much more than just a holiday. It was also the birthday of our youngest son, Richard, and there in lies a great Mustang story. It goes like this.
In 1981, Cindy and I were expecting our second child. In those days, you didn’t know whether the baby was going to be a boy or a girl, when it was going to arrive or even how long it was going to take for it to get there. You just knew that at some point, the expectant mother was going to have to go to the hospital to have the baby. That year, September 2nd was a Wednesday and we were getting ready for the Labor Day weekend. A big Mustang car show or something like that was happening and I was getting our Mustang ready to go.
Cindy told me not to go too far because she felt a little “strange”. I kissed her good-bye and pulled out of the garage. I don’t remember my first stop, or even my second or third stop, but I eventually made it to the Ford dealership in Stockton where I was picking up some parts that were on order for the Mustang. Remember, this was before Mustangs Plus, so I was just an average guy trying to find parts for his Mustang. As I got ready to leave, I remembered what Cindy had told me and asked the guy behind the parts counter if I could use the telephone to call my wife. He said that I could and brought the telephone up onto the parts counter for me to use.
Now remember, in 1981 there were no cell phones, pagers or texting. Just a telephone where you had to stick your “dialing finger” into a hole with the right number on it, rotate the disc, release the disc and wait for the disc to return to it’s starting position so you could do the same thing again for the next number. That’s right. No speed dialing, no voice commands or any help what so ever. In fact, if you didn’t know the number you were dialing, you had to look it up in a big, thick book and hope it was there. There was no Internet to search, no contacts to look at and those around you couldn’t help. However, there was “directory assistance” where you could actually call and talk to someone and see if they could find your number. Many times they couldn’t. But, if they could, you had to write it down so that you could then dial it. Anyway, as I dialed our home number, I remember telling the parts guy that my wife was pregnant but she wasn’t due for another month or so and that I was probably just wasting my time. But, I had better check on her, just the same. As soon as Cindy answered, I knew something was happening!
“Ron! Where are you? Get home as fast as you can! I think I’m having the baby!” Cindy’s voice yelled at me through the receiver. Now, this is where the great Mustang story comes into place! I ran out of the dealership, leaving the parts I had just paid for on the counter, and fired up that Hi-Po Mustang! With the solid lifters singing and the high performance 6.95×14″ duel red band nylon tires squealing, I peeled out of the parking lot and headed for home as fast as I could! Now, I won’t say that I drove recklessly, but I did run a few red lights and fly by a few cars at a higher then posted speed. In fact, I think the engine spent more time in the 5,000 to 6,000 RPM range then it ever had before on that 6 mile trip home! And yes, I was looking in my rear view mirror for the policeman who was going to pull me over just so I could tell him, “My wife’s having a baby and I have to get home to take her to the hospital!” Yeah, just writing it here makes me understand how lucky I was that I didn’t get pulled over that day!
I arrived home to find that my mother was there at the house to stay with our one-year-old son, Ron Jr., while I took Cindy to the hospital. Remember, we didn’t know if the baby was going to be Richard or Ronda at that time. Strange though, Cindy was perfectly calm and ready to go when I got there. She didn’t sound anything like she did when I had called and talked to her just a few minutes before. Or, was it just an expectant father’s imagination that made me think she was so excited during that call? I have my suspicions, but we’ll never really know. All I know was that I got Cindy to the hospital and 4 hours later, I was holding our new son, Richard David Bramlett. So you see, every Labor Day holiday, that’s what Cindy and I remember.
As for the “K” code Mustang that I got to take that very exciting drive in on September 2nd, 1981, Cindy and I still have it. In fact, it’s just like one of the family. Richard has grown up to become quite a Mustang mechanic, working in the Restomod Shop and building Mustangs like “Project Reclaim” every day. In fact, for several years, Richard has lived in the same house that our family lived in when he was born in 1981. And remember that I said we didn’t know if he was going to be Richard or Ronda? Obviously, we got Richard on that day, but we also got our Ronda the next year in 1982. But, that’s a different story!
Stay tuned for our next Blog next week!