Three weeks before our wedding, my soon-to-be bride totalled her prized 1973 VW SuperBeetle. Fortunately, she was unhurt. Unfortunately, the bug was not covered by collision insurance. Living in the South, we eventually replaced the car with something that had reliable air-conditioning, but Diane always wanted another Beetle - and I always wanted to get her one.
So, a tradition began: every Christmas I would give her some type of miniature Bug. Sometimes it was a matchbox car, or a dyecast Beetle painted like a police car placed in her stocking; once it was a model to be put together; she even received a remote-control Barbie Beetle convertible. But I still always wanted to surprise her with the real thing.
Then a few years ago as our 25th wedding anniversary was approaching, I knew I had to do something big. It struck me that this was the time to search around for the Beetle I always wanted for her.
When we were married, I had a 1968 Chevy Impala convertible - yellow, with a black interior and top. It was in great shape, and we actually drove it across the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls the night of our wedding. In addition, the car we took from the wedding to the reception was an old Rolls-Royce - yellow with black fenders. So as I looked around for the perfect Beetle, I was particularly interested in a '67 convertible located in Atlanta - yellow, with a black top and interior.
A few months before our anniversay, I told my wife I had a long work day ahead of me, rented a trailer and drove the five hours to Atlanta. The "restored" car was really a 20 footer at best, but it was solid. I bought it, brought it back to a repair shop to check over, and made it home in time for dinner. After the car was deemed mechanically sound, I took it to a friend's garage where he let me store it for a few weeks. I cleaned it up when I could break away without being missed, and while it wasn't perfect, it looked pretty good, and I figured down the road we'd have fun restoring it.
The night of our anniversay, I bought 25 red roses, and went to my friend's house to get the VW. He followed me to the restaurant where Diane and I had a reservation later that night, and I parked the Bug with the top down in the closest spot to the door. I had a picture of Diane and I from our wedding day, showing us about to climb into that yellow and black Rolls-Royce, and I attached it to the steering wheel with a note that said "Happy 25th Anniversary!!". Then I put one of the roses in the bud vase that was on the dashboard.
When I got home, I gave Diane the roses, encouraging her to make sure all 25 were there. Naturally she figured out that there were only 24 - to which I said, "Oh, I guess the flower shop just thought I wanted 2 dozen.". Then we drove off to dinner.
Upon arriving at the now quite full restaurant parking lot, she immediately noticed the VW convertible parked near the door, and said we had to look at it on the way in. I hung back a little as we approached the car, and when she got within about 10 feet of it, she noticed the sign on the steering wheel. You can imagine how excited she was, and it didn't take her long to figure out where her 25th rose had been. We drove around for 15 minutes before going to dinner. Her feet barely touched the ground as we walked in.
It's been about three years since that day, and about a year ago we finished a complete restoration of her new prized beetle. The interior was completely gutted and replaced with a two-tone gray, a new gray top was put on, and car was painted Pacific Blue - a '63 VW color. Not only is it a real show-stopper (like Diane), but the gray interior is much nicer on our backsides in the summer (compared to black!).
And here's the best part: the Christmas after I gave her the Bug, I got a suprise in my stocking - a matchbox 1963 Corvette (my dream car) with a note on the back that said, "Now it's your turn!"