Old Blue Learns the Lessons of Life

Old Blue Learns the Lessons of Life

by Bette M. Goodson (Mamaw)


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Old Blue Learns the Lessons of Life by Bette M. Goodson (Mamaw)

Old Blue is a 1988 Ford Festiva that tells how she learned life's lessons through her experiences with Mamaw and Mamaw's grandchildren. It is a delightful way of imparting to children, young and old, learning lessons of self-esteem, facing the challenges of life, and taking responsibility.

Old Blue has thought-provoking questions, a vocabulary list, and exercises. Old Blue suggests writing all this in one's happiness journal. If the child is too young to write, Old Blue suggests drawing, finding something in nature, or reading other books that reflect what one has learned. Travel the road of life with Old Blue and share her experiences along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504977395
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 02/27/2016
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.33(d)

Read an Excerpt

Old Blue Learns the Lessons of Life

By Bette M. Goodson (Mamaw)


Copyright © 2016 Bette M. Goodson (Mamaw)
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5049-7739-5


Blue Is Adopted

Although it was back in 1988, I remember it as though it were yesterday — the day I came to live with my family.

I was sitting on the car lot with all the other cars. On that day, many of us wore different colors. Some of us were big, beautiful, quite strong, and powerful. Others were medium in size and more economical. They were still very nice cars, but they were not as fancy and did not use as much gasoline as the more affluent models.

I am a very tiny and plain Ford Festiva with only two doors and four pistons. But I can turn around and park in very small spaces and run practically forever on a small tank of gas. But what I lack in size, I make up for in heart.

All of us sat there looking as cute and adorable as possible. Filled with the wonderful brand-new car smell, we hoped someone who was happy and nice would come along to adopt us and take us home.

A very nice couple came to the car lot that day. The man was looking for a large car because he drove many miles and wanted to be comfortable. The lady needed a car too. But knowing her husband needed a car more, she wasn't saying much. After looking and thinking, he decided on a Taurus for himself. He then surprised his wife by suggesting that maybe she would like a Festiva. When the lady heard that, she was excited and so was I. Trying my best to sparkle and look spiffy in the warm sunshine, I noticed that my lot mates were doing the same thing. We all wanted to go home with the people who seemed so kind and thoughtful.

However, from all the cars on the lot that day — some new, some used, some large, some small — I was the chosen one! I was special to Mamaw, as I came to know her, because I am blue. After all the necessary papers were signed and Papaw paid lots of money, Mamaw was given my keys and drove me to my new home.

Right away, I knew I was going to be very happy belonging to Mamaw and Papaw. Of course, I had to share my room in the garage with big brother Taurus, but we learned to get along and to show respect by not getting into each other's spaces. After all, we were family. We were different in many ways, but we each had our own job to do and were equally important to the family.

One day, Papaw and Taurus were leaving to go out of town. But Papaw forgot to open the garage door and almost drove Taurus right through it! I felt so sad for Taurus and Papaw, but thank goodness neither of them was hurt. However, I can't say the same for the garage door. It was embarrassing, too. All the neighborhood children saw what happened and laughed at poor Papaw, who did not find the situation amusing.

Mamaw heard the commotion and came out to see what the ruckus was all about. With her hands on her hips, she said, "I'm glad I didn't do such a thing!" Papaw's face was very red, and he had nothing to say to anyone. He just opened what was left of the garage door and drove away.

Poor Taurus had to live on his side of the garage until Papaw could get the garage door fixed. This made his side look very messy, but accidents do happen. Whew! I hope that never happens to Mamaw and me!

At first, I was afraid that Mamaw was not going to keep me. Sometimes, when she put me in gear and pulled out into oncoming traffic, I would get a coughing spell with hiccups, sputtering, and choking. This was not a pleasant experience for either of us, especially when another car or a great big eighteen-wheeler was coming right at us. We had some very close calls. I tried so hard not to do this.

I was quite good at hiding my condition whenever Papaw or the mechanic took me for a test drive. They said that Mamaw just wasn't used to me and didn't know how to change my gears. This did not sit well with Mamaw. For a while, I could tell she was disappointed in me. I didn't mean to make her look bad, but I did not want to be taken back to the car lot.

One afternoon, Papaw was driving me while Mamaw was in the passenger seat. Papaw pulled out onto a highway, thinking that we had plenty of time, but I had a terrible coughing spell. I could not pull my parents to safety because I used all my energy in the frenzied coughing, sputtering, hiccupping, and choking. Mamaw didn't say anything, but she looked at Papaw with her eyebrows raised way up and gave him that "I told you so" smile. Papaw had to admit that I had a problem. I was so ashamed. I wanted to do my absolute best for my new parents and to protect them as much as possible. However, it was really very good that the truth came out.

Papaw took me back to the mechanic who drove me around until I had another spell of coughing, hiccupping, sputtering, and choking. The mechanic then called the factory where I was put together. After talking to the factory man, the mechanic opened my hood, fixed my thingamajig, and pronounced me as healthy as a horse and as strong as an ox. In other words, I was in perfect condition. Mamaw felt better now. Not only was I was running beautifully, but also Papaw, the mechanic, and everyone else had to admit she had been right all along. Mamaw did know how to drive me.

After that bumpy start to our relationship, Mamaw and I became a great team. She loved me and took care of me. In turn, I loved her and was willing to run my little heart out for her.

For the most part, we led a very ordinary life, yet every day with Mamaw is an adventure. Hardly a day goes by that we don't go somewhere together. I look forward to just taking her to work or to the grocery store.

Sometimes, we go to the 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee or to her favorite bookstore for a cappuccino. We often go to exercise class or visit the grandchildren. We love yard sales, mountain hiking, and trips to the park or the ice cream store. I especially love it when she turns on my radio or pops in a tape and sings along. However, I do wish she wouldn't do this in heavy traffic. But truly, she is very good about not doing that. One should always be very careful and aware when driving a vehicle, but heavy traffic especially calls for full attention.

I decided to write my adventures down in this Happiness Journal so others could see just how extraordinary an ordinary day can be, especially when you are with someone who loves you. I am so happy that Mamaw chose me. My name is Blue, and I am a lucky, happy girl.


1. Why do you think Blue wanted to be adopted?

2. Do you feel it was better for the truth to come out that Blue was sick? Why or why not?

3. Why do you believe it was important to Blue that she do her best for Mamaw?

4. How could Mamaw have been more gracious and kind when Papaw accidentally ran through the garage door?

5. Would it have been helpful for Papaw to lighten up and laugh too? Or should he have let the accident start his trip off in an unhappy mood? How do you feel you would have handled the situation?

6. How could the neighborhood children have shown more respect for Papaw? If he and Mamaw had laughed too, would the children have been laughing at them or laughing with them?

7. Although Blue is not big and beautiful and does not have the best and most expensive clothes like seat covers, carpeting, and dash accessories, she likes herself a lot.

8. Why do you feel this is so? Is this a good thing for all of us to practice?

9. Blue is a happy little car. Is she happy because she is perfect and her life is perfect? Or is she happy because she decided that is how she wants to be? Blue says she is as happy as she wants to be. Do you understand that?

10. Why is it important for Mamaw to pay even more close attention to her driving when she and Blue are in heavy traffic? Can you think of ways everyone can pay more careful attention to their driving? I bet you can.


Affluent: rich or wealthy, with lots of money to spend

Aware: knowing exactly what is happening around you

Economical: saving money and not wasting it

Extraordinary: marvelous, wonderful, stands out from the usual

Ordinary: normal, nothing really special

Pistons: moving parts under the hood of the car that make the engine work so the car can run

Respect and/or gracious: good manners, polite, seeing good in everyone; treating others, especially when they are not at their best, as you would like to be treated: Some call it the Golden Rule, and Blue says no one ever feels bad when they follow this rule.


We are all special and want to be treated with respect. Still, everyone makes mistakes even when trying to do their best. However, everyone can learn from mistakes and do a little better the next time and the time after that. Practice looking for something good in everyone and see what happens. Write these in your Happiness Journal. Remember, sow seeds of kindness and gather love.


Blue Gets an Attitude Adjustment

I see so many cars on the roads these days. Some are big, really big. Some are loud, really loud. Some are up on very high tires. Others can fold their tops back to let the passengers enjoy the sun on their faces and the wind in their hair.

Some cars have fancy interiors. This means that the seats in the car are very soft and comfortable. The entire inside of the car is covered with the very best material. Just by looking at it, you know it cost a lot of money. The carpets, doors, door handles, and radios are the best that money can buy.

I have seen many cars and trucks pulling little houses on wheels that are called campers. Other vehicles have houses built right on them are called motor homes. Yes, cars and trucks come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

These vehicles also have many different jobs to do. Some are very large with an orangey-yellow color. These vehicles carry children to school. Mamaw always stops when she sees one of these vehicles with its stop sign on the driver's side. That means children are getting on or off, and we need to be extra careful and stop also.

While other vehicles carry people to and from work, some vehicles are the work! Not only do they help put out fires and rescue people, but they also take injured people to hospitals. They also deliver shipments of goods to stores so that people can buy them. The list goes on and on. I bet you can think of even more.

Sometimes, when I look around at all the big and important vehicles in life, I become a bit overwhelmed. After all, I am very plain and hardly bigger than a roller skate. Sometimes, when I start comparing myself to the more beautiful, powerful, and important vehicles, I begin to feel very small, cheap, and worthless. When I feel that way, I can hardly enjoy life at all.

Some people call these feelings bad moods or depressions. I just know they are not fun. So, I try not to let myself think these negative thoughts. Instead, I tell myself how cute I am. I tell myself that I am special because I can do things other cars can't do. I don't cost Mamaw much money at all. I can go at least forty miles on a gallon of gas. On occasions, I develop what is called "an attitude" by going overboard and telling myself how wonderful I am.

I recall one summer when I developed just such an attitude and became quite obnoxious. In other words, I was not very likeable. When I passed a vehicle that was broken down on the roadside, I just stuck my nose up in the air and rode on by. I thought that the owner should take the time and money to keep the vehicle in good running order. I was proud that I was running just fine. If I passed a car that burned lots of oil, I yelled out, "Hey, Buddy! Get off the road. Give a hoot. Don't pollute!"

To those who had smoke billowing out from various places, I yelled, "Don't you know smoking is bad for you and the environment? I don't want your secondhand smoke." If I passed a rusty, old, and dilapidated vehicle, I yelled, "Hey, Old Timer, a junkyard is just up ahead. Why don't you check yourself in?" If the vehicle was going too slowly, I would yell, "Get out of my way. Move it or lose it!" Oh yes, I had a smart-alecky remark for every vehicle that I considered wasn't perfect. I suppose one could even say that I was experiencing road rage. Surely, I was a snob, but let me tell you folks, an old saying that is so true. (Most of those old sayings are true.) You reap what you sow. In other words, life is like a garden. If you put seeds in the ground, tend them, and water them, the seeds will grow up and you reap the bounty. It belongs to you. Likewise, when you treat people a certain way, either good or bad, others will treat you that way too. I did not know about this sowing and reaping stuff, so I had to learn it the hard way.

One beautiful Saturday morning, Mamaw and I were on an outing to Monticello, the home of our third president, Mr. Thomas Jefferson. It had been raining for several days and my brakes were horribly squeaky. It was an awful sound. I hoped the brakes would get better as the day went on.

But while going down a mountain road, we suddenly, heard a terrible racket in my back end. It sounded as though I was falling apart! It frightened Mamaw and me half to death. She pulled over and checked me out. Mamaw doesn't know much about cars and engines or mechanics, but she thought I had blown a hole in my muffler.

Not one to change her plans, Mamaw decided to go on and enjoy her day. While she drove me, I was so embarrassed! Every time we stopped for a red light, my brakes squeaked and squealed. Not only that, my rear end sounded as though it was about to explode into a million trizillion bits.

Suddenly, I felt small, ugly, poor, and unhealthy. I was sure that all the other vehicles and their owners were laughing at me. I imagined them saying, "Hey, junky-trashy pipsqueak, get off the road!" Believe me, that was the longest day of my life.

How I wished Mamaw would drive me back home. I wanted to hide out in the garage until Papaw could have me repaired, but nope! Mamaw just continued happily on her way as though I was in tip-top shape. She didn't even seem to notice that every eye was on us, and every look was a cold, hard stare.

While I was looking for an alley to hide myself in, Mamaw was looking for a nice restaurant for lunch. Not only that, she had the nerve to park me right between a gold Cadillac and a gorgeous van with a beach scene painted on its side! I hung my head in shame. I hoped for a big hole to open up and swallow me, but it didn't happen.

However, guess what? The gold Cadillac and the fancy van were so nice to me! They didn't pity me or make me feel sorry for myself. Instead, they mentioned that these things happen to all vehicles from time to time. They even pointed out how lucky I was to have someone like Mamaw who loved me so much. After all, she didn't let my blown muffler or squeaky brakes spoil our day, and I shouldn't either. Mamaw and Papaw will get me a new muffler and they will tend to my squealing brakes.

Meanwhile, "smile and the whole world smiles with you. ... If you want to have a friend, be a friend." Those are just a couple more of those old sayings. Just enjoy yourself. If others think you are not quite as good as they are, well, just let them be. They too will reap what they sow. We all do. Furthermore, they too will break down some day. We all do.

I thought this over long after Cadillac and Van had gone and admitted I had a lot to learn. I remembered how unkind I had been to other vehicles on the road that were experiencing problems of some sort. I remembered how I had thought I could make myself feel more important and more powerful by pointing out that they were not perfect. Some people might call this bullying or road rage. It is a terrible thing to experience and a terrible thing to do. Then, when I had difficulties, I hoped I would not be treated as I had treated others. I hoped they would be kind and understanding. I hoped they would see my beautiful heart and know that I was really a good little girl. And, thankfully, the ones I talked to did.


Excerpted from Old Blue Learns the Lessons of Life by Bette M. Goodson (Mamaw). Copyright © 2016 Bette M. Goodson (Mamaw). Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


1. Blue Is Adopted, 1,
2. Blue Gets an Attitude Adjustment, 9,
3. Blue Is in an Accident, 19,
4. Blue Gets a Boo-Boo, 27,
5. Blue Gets a Baby Brother, 35,
6. Blue Meets Bhakti Rose, 45,
7. Blue has a Big Disappointment, 53,
8. Blue Gets a Bath, 61,
9. Taurus Gets Sold Away!, 69,
10. Blue Says Good-bye to Bhakti Rose, 77,
11. Old Blue has Transplant Surgery, 83,
12. Old Blue and Devi, the Artist, 91,
13. Mamaw Had Road Rage, 99,
14. Life Goes on Merrily down the Street, 107,
15. Old Blue's Favorite Photos, 113,

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