A '70 Caprice station wagon and the new fan
Updated: Jul 16
One bitter day on a late December Sunday, Mom and Dad packed us up in the woodgrain paneled station wagon for a last minute Christmas shopping spree.
In those days, it snowed around Thanksgiving and didn't leave until the March thaw. We got new sleds, gloves and boots every year for Christmas, and we used them! There was no front wheel or all wheel drive then, just two rear wheels driven by an Chevy v-8 4 barrel with studded winter treads to make it around on those western pa snow covered roads. We didn't panic when it snowed, we just threw a couple sandbags in the trunk and drove.
So there we were, the whole family in this station wagon on a cold Sunday afternoon. Dad was driving, Mom in the passenger side, brother and sister in the back seat, and since I was the oldest, I got to choose the flip up "rumble" third row seat that faced back. (In the summertime, dad would roll that back window down for some fresh exhaust fumes, but we didn't care, for this 11 year old, it was just cool).
So we're all packed in the car on that bitter cold day, driving to who knows where for something Mom needed to shop for. Christmas was always very special to her, and that tradition carried on today. Anyhow, as Dad was listening to the radio, he would from time to blurt out something good, then a few choice words when something bad happened. I couldn't hear what he was listening to since I was way in the back, but he was definitely fired up so bad that Mom had to settle him down a few times. Then it happened......
Something big happened on the radio that moment that forced my Dad to pull the car over. In those days, that was never good. You did not want to be the cause of Dad pulling the car over, because if he did, you were in serious trouble. Well, it did happen, but something was different this time. He didn't turn around and unload on us, he just sat there for a few moments, and was eerily quiet. Mom was consoling him but had a smile on her face.
Whatever happened, it was BIG, and as he looked back at me in the rear view mirror, I could see he had tears in his eyes. Whatever made this man so emotional must have been HUGE! After a few moments, and saying "I cant believe they did it" a half dozen times, he pulled back on Rt 22 and we went on about our way. Whatever made Dad so emotional was something I definitely wanted to be a part of. I remember getting to our destination and asked Dad what he was listening to and it was the Pittsburgh Steelers football team! I was hooked and from that day forward, (50 years later), Dad and I still get together each Steeler game when possible.
Oh yeah, that day was December 23rd, 1972. I later found out, that game would go down in history as the beginning of something special, and the play that made him pull over, is one of the most incredible and famous plays in the history of the NFL. A steeler fan for life.