In December, 1970, I fell in love with my first Mustang. It was a ‘66—light blue with a white vinyl top. It had a V-8, 289 under the hood. I had no idea what that meant, but I was 16, the car was undeniably H-O-T, and I wanted it. Badly.

And I got it, along with about a bazillion parental “conditions,” that Christmas. (If you have seen or read my play “The Ultimatum,” then you know the whole true story!) It was one of the very best years of my life, and even now I smile like a Cheshire cat reminiscing.

After college I had a ’74 Mustang. Manual transmission. Split pea green. Not my favorite car, but it was another Mustang, and I was happy to be driving it. The 1980 was another story—it didn’t even LOOK like the silhouette of a Mustang I carried inside my head!

And then came a long dry spell… I call them “the unfortunate mature years.”

After the 1980 Mustang came a lemon of a Taurus. Although it was black, with heavily-tinted windows, and I got a “D Vader” personalized license plate, that car was plagued with mechanical troubles from the very start and never really sang to me. I kept it only a couple years before trading it in on a hot metallic cranberry red Honda Accord with white pinstripes and a stylish but worthless wing on the back.

But moving to the junior/senior high school to teach was hard on that little red car. A half dozen slashed tires, broken antenna, rock-dented fender, and two horrific “keyings” down the entire side later, I decided I needed a car that would better blend with all the other “teacher cars” in the parking lot.

So in November, 1999, I purposely sought out a “4-door, nondescript, Secret-Service gray” Toyota Camry. It was still occasionally targeted by teenagers who would rather spend their time being vandals than doing their homework, but I learned to live with it.

In fact, I lived with that gray Camry for one day short of 14 years, three months, and put over 248,000 miles on it! It was a fabulously reliable car, and served me well.

But I was, after all, born in The Year of the Horse, and I always knew there’d be another Mustang in my future. It was on my bucket list, I often talked about it, and I even gave the protagonist in my mystery series a Mustang to drive. (And, as we all know, a writer’s heroes are frequently based on the image they hold of themselves.)

Then suddenly, the planets magically aligned last week. I could feel the tingle unmistakeable in my toes; it was time!

But the 2014s didn’t match my vision of what a Mustang should look like. And no way would I have a 2013, since that year had been the worst of my life. So I set out to find a 2006 to 2012. The goal was to find it before June, as that’s when I turn 60, and finishing off the decade of my 50s without the car of my dreams was unimaginable!

So to make a long story a bit shorter: On February 27, thanks to Craigslist, I bought myself a 2012, Kona blue, V-6, 3.7L automatic. (Buying an automatic was a concession for my compromised knees, but the car has wide black racing stripes, so it was a trade-off.)

Right this minute, there’s a Mustang in my garage—I keep opening the door to take a peek and occasionally pinching myself! The 26-year dry spell is over and I’m back in the saddle.

My Mid-Life Celebration continues!