When I was a child - three, maybe 4 years old - my mother drove a baby blue Volkswagen Beetle. A blue bug. I have vague memories of riding around in the back seat of the bug, strapped into a blue vinyl and steel bar car seat that had as much chance of ripping the skin off the back of my thighs as it did of saving my life in the event of an accident.
My clearer memories of the bug - when I was, oh about 12 years old - are of pieces of the car scattered in various corners of our garage. Apparently the motor needed to be fixed. My father owned a gas station and was a mechanic, but like the proverbial shoeless children of the cobbler, our car was neglected in favor of more important things. Finally my dad pulled out the pieces and sold them off just to erase that project from his to-do list.
My mom is in town, and we've introduced her to the family obsession with playing "Slug Bug". One day on the road we saw a baby blue bug, which brought up our ill-fated beetle. And Mom told us a story.
When I was a baby, my mom had two Great Danes, a brother and a sister named Hercules and Sari. My mother's cousin, G Elaine, was a foster mother to 4 children with Down Syndrome. For some reason, these large dogs always charmed and calmed the kids when they were having a bad day. On such a day, G Elaine called my mom and asked her to bring the dogs over to help with the kids. Mom agreed, and not having the family sedan at her disposal, took me and the dogs in the bug.
After a successful day with the kids, we headed home - 25 miles away by freeway in rush hour traffic. When Mom was almost home, she saw lights in the rear view mirror; a cop was pulling her over! She checked her speed, her lane - anything she could think of, but everything was normal. When she got pulled over, she asked the officer what was the matter.
"Oh, nothing", replied the officer. "But when I saw this tiny car with these two big dog heads sticking out of the sun roof, I just had to see it for myself!" Slug Bug blue, indeed!