UNCLE MARK’S CARS by Dawn Orrock Uncle Mark owned a car! Our father had owned a couple of cars but they were before my memory.  He also purchased a car from his brother, my Uncle Joe, so Uncle Joe could get some new teeth.  It was a Teraplane.  I believe we had it for about 2 years.  End of cars for my family. Climbing the tree in our back yard in Salina, Utah, my sister, Jean, and I would gaze past fields, farms and houses, off to the north, to the highway approaching town, searching for the first sight of our Uncle Mark’s car.  Uncle Mark was bringing our aunts and grandmother from Provo.  This was usually a yearly visit.  Aunt Maude would come from her home in California to Provo and then on down to visit our family in Salina.  How exciting it was when our vigil was rewarded!  Those were my first memories of Uncle Mark’s cars. Snow was deeper and winters were longer, it seemed, when I was a senior attending BY High School in Provo, Utah.  Walking to school the eleven blocks during the cold winter mornings was not my favorite thing to do.  I would walk out the door of the house, knowing Uncle Mark was home and not going any place, hoping he would offer to give me a lift.  I don’t believe he ever did.  I have since realized I never really resented that fact because I knew he loved me.  Perhaps he didn’t give it a thought because his work experiences were often spent outside during all kinds of weather, plying his trade as a carpenter.  In retrospect, as I walked those long cold blocks, it gave me an appreciation of warm, heated rooms and cars with working heaters. Uncle Mark’s cars, on the other hand, presented much joy and knowledge of the world around me.  When my family and I were living in the old home at 672 East 2nd North during World War II, rides in his car on a Sunday afternoon were a favorite thing to do.  We would sometimes drive west of town to see what was going on at the lake.  Had it risen this year, or was it down? A pleasant, dreamy drive was to the north through the river bottoms, gazing at a house set back in from the road, gliding under shadowy trees, noting a horse or other animals that drew our attention.  We never drove fast, just meandered along.  Sunday evenings were sometimes spent going for a root beer float at A & W, served for the smaller child in a ‘frostee’ glass, or riding to Cook’s Ice Cream Parlor to choose a quart of ice cream.  Uncle Mark’s favorite was black walnut; mine was peppermint stick. Rides to family reunions held at a park, or in Provo Canyon, or traveling up canyons to see the leaves turn to beautiful colors in the fall; rides to visit relatives, such as to Aunt Fern’s home, or riding to Halloween parties, creating never forgotten memories and an unusual closeness to extended family. A Saturday ride in the car downtown took Uncle Mark and me on many a mystery, cowboy or musical adventure, as we attended the movies in the three theaters in town, once taking in all three in a day! A surprise ride for me was when Uncle Mark drove Mother, Aunt Lurline and me to Salt Lake City!  I was told we were going for a ride down by the lake.  But we kept going past the lake and on through American Fork and Lehi.  Where were we going?  We were going to the big city to buy me clothes for my first upcoming trip to California with Uncle Mark! During my young teenage years, Uncle Mark had fixed up the barn at the back of the Foote property for my friends and me to have a clubhouse.  Often he would drive my friends home if darkness had come while we were engrossed in “club business.”  Later,  when I was an older teenager, Uncle Mark had the courage to teach me to drive.  (“Don’t ride the clutch!”) Scott and I didn’t own a car for two or three years after our marriage.  Whenever there was an emergency, Uncle Mark was there with his car.  One emergency was most unpleasant for me.  Uncle Mark had taken Scott, Mother and me out for a ride in his new car.  I had walked all over downtown Provo that day and was two weeks from expecting our first child.  As we drove up to the house after our ride, my water broke while I was seated in the back seat of the BRAND NEW CAR!  I was horrified.  Uncle Mark, that dear bachelor, seemed only concerned for my situation.  Luckily my mother, being both nurse and mother, cleaned up the car as best she could while I cried, knowing his new car would never be quite the same.  Uncle Mark was too much of a gentleman to ever remark on it again. As our children grew and cars were stretched between working parents and teenagers, Uncle Mark had been known to climb out of his warm bed, going out in the cold to rescue a stalled teenager or niece. As Uncle Mark got older, riding with him became a rather dangerous adventure.  We would often stop at the green light and slide through the red.  Luckily, traffic was not then what it is now.  I have a great deal of patience driving behind an older person because of my experiences with Uncle Mark.  I can’t help but think, “That’s the way Uncle Mark would drive his car,” and my heart softens.