Love At First Sight...

Love At First Sight
By George Picrate

The first time we met she stood perfectly still and let me take in her appealing shapely curves.

She was good to look at and after my eyes had feasted on every detail of her well-formed body I moved closer and my fingers tingled when we touched.
My pulse was racing and I knew that I had to have her!
She did not read my mind. She stood her ground teasingly, perfectly still, not showing any response to my tell-tale fascination and overt outward affection. Her reaction, or lack of it, just made her more desirable... I turned around and walked home.

My mouth was dry, I could not think clearly, I did not sleep well that night, I was in a bad way.

The next day I returned to where I last saw her... When I walked through the door my mouth dropped, she was not there ! There were others, but not the red head that I had set my heart on. I must have communicated my disappointment as I gazed around the room.

A male voice boomed out, "Did you like her... don't worry she'll be back, I've just sent her out for a wash." I let out an audible sigh and mumbled "Thanks!" I guess it's reasonable to expect a car dealership to have a 'car washing' machine.

It was 9 November 1961, about morning tea-time. I was standing in the showroom of Fred Deeley Ltd., West Broadway, Vancouver, Canada. Fred Deeley's were the distributors of a range of English motor vehicles including Wolseley, Riley, Morris, Austin, and the object of my passion, AUSTIN HEALEY.

As I write, I am looking at the 50 year old purchase invoice in front of me. It was probably the easiest sale the car salesman ever made. At 3pm that same afternoon he came out of the sales office, bounded over the showroom floor to where I was standing and extended his hand and gave me Invoice No. 38039; the final transitional act prior to commitment.

A sports car with gutsy performance and exquisite good looks always had the potential of getting its owner into trouble and this vehicle was no exception. I can recall one brush with the law and several other occasions when they should have been involved. I had inherited a 'dare devil' gene from my father along with, thankfully, above average driving skills. The car weighed over a ton and could easily reach that speed on the open highway. It had 4 forward gears with overdrive on 3rd and top gear. The engine block was that of a stretched version of the Austin Westminster BMC series 3 C-engine, but that is where the similarity ended. 2912cc engine producing 136 brake horse power at 4,750 rpm. 6 cylinders. 3 S.U. HS4 carburettors fitted with 'pancake' air cleaners. Top speed 190 to 200 kph. 55 litre petrol capacity. In essence it was a two seater, but there were indentations behind the seats for short uncomfortable trips for two back seat passengers. A black removable hard top was functional, but not airtight and moaned a little at high speed. In essence it was a sports car designed for safe and enjoyable high speed cruising.

The 1961 Austin Healey 3000 Mk2 was fitted with a tough vinyl treated fabric hood which could be speedily erected or folded away. It also had a tonneau cover, made of similar material, which could be open when driving or completely removed and stored away in a specially designed wallet. This model was eventually superseded by the Mk3, which was probably the least pretty, but most comfortable of the breed.

I drove this car all year round, but it showed its better face in the summer months. During winter it became a means of conveyance, while during the more favoured climes it was more like a 'place to be.'

I was desirous of bringing my sports car home with me when I returned to New Zealand in 1963, but I discovered it could not be driven here until the left hand steering had been converted to right hand steering. Today Robert Russell values his 1967 model at $23,000. I have seen Austin Healey 3000 Mk2 models like mine being offered today for $55,000 and $73,000.

The Austin Healey marque and more particularly my red roadster, has stayed a favourite on my wall and in my 'hall of memories' during the past 50 years. I guess it was my 'first love' of sorts, I had not experienced to that point in time the love of a woman, and this inanimate machine became, as I was later to realise, the object of my misplaced affection.

I was twenty three years of age and It was great fun at the time. I always tried to balance the vehicle with a casual passenger by my side. Austin and I were never short of companionship...

George Picrate (pen name), was born in and lives in the city of Gisborne, New Zealand. It is with great
pleasure that we introduce this talented new writer to The WordSmith, and to you, our readers.

His writing career began, with the purchase of his first computer some 13 years ago, and we're honored that he's
chosen us here at The WordSmith, to share some of his 1300 stories written over the course of those years, with you.
Up until this time, he has shared
only a few of his great writes with family and a few close friends.

He has written for the monthly magazine that his church publishes, and a regular column in the local newspaper
called,Christian Comment. His retirement years has found him focussing upon his writing. He begins very early in
the day with a brisk walk for focus, and keeps the mornings for penning whatever is on his heart for the day.
He and his wife Janis have a lovely family of four children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren,
all who inspire and add great joy to their lives.

If you would like to contact George, you may do so by emailing him here:

We are blessed indeed, to add him to our ever growing list of wonderful
writers, and know you'll enjoy his first offerings here at The WordSmith!

Hope - A poem penned as a hopeful plea to a friend who
at one time, could not find the value of living her life.

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