Would I Look Better on a Hyundai?

During World War I, animals in the Paris and Antwerp zoos were killed to save the costs of feeding them. An artist named Rembrandt Bugatti sculpted an elephant to commemorate the sad event, and he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for the sculpture.

If the name Bugatti rings a bell, it’s because Rembrandt was the younger brother of Ettore Bugatti, the man who started the famous line of sports cars.  From 1927 to 1933, Bugatti produced six cars called the Royale, which today are the world’s most sought-after collectible cars (one sold in 1987 for $8.7 million). The Royale’s hood ornament was a copy of Rembrandt Bugatti’s elephant, placed on the cars in memory of the young artist, who killed himself after Ettore stole his fiancee.

You’re probably thinking, Wow!  I didn’t know Grace was interested in ridiculously expensive sports cars. Or European zoological history. Or suicidal sculptors. Or hood ornaments.

I got interested in hood ornaments right around the time I became one.

I spent most of last week in Atlanta.  Late Monday afternoon, I put my four dogs (the three dachshunds – Laverne, Shirley, and Squiggy – and Pancho, my three-legged Australian Shepherd) in my SUV and drove back to St. Augustine.

The three dachshunds travel in a crate because if they weren’t contained, they would spend the entire trip jockeying for the right to stand on my lap snotting up my driver’s side window.  My car won’t hold their crate and Pancho’s, so he rides, uncrated, in the backseat.  Except for when he comes to sit in the front seat, causing the passenger side seat belt alarm to ding incessantly.

Pancho knew I had a bag of Greenies Pill Pockets, otherwise known as Puppy Crack, in the front seat floorboard.  The entire trip, he kept jumping into the front seat trying to get to that bag.

When we pulled into the driveway of my house, I decided to get the dachshunds out first.  I got out of the car, taking care to close the door so that Pancho didn’t jump out.  I needn’t have worried.  He jumped into the front seat and tried to get the Pill Pockets.  And in the process, he hit the door lock button located on the dash with his nose.

My four dogs were locked in my car along with my cell phone and both sets of keys to my car.

I panicked.  I climbed onto the hood of my car and tried to coax Pancho into hitting the lock button with his nose again.    I was on my hands and knees, face pressed to the windshield, while he sat in that seat with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, cocking his head sideways as if to say, “I don’t understand why you’re on the hood of the car.”

My sweet neighbor didn’t make any snide remarks about the elephant in the room (and on the hood) when she saw me perched there pleading with a dog to unlock the door.  She just handed me her iPhone, which I used to Google BMW Assist.

The lovely young girl who answered my call said that it might be possible to unlock my car from the heavens.  But she had trouble locating my account because I couldn’t remember which of my phone numbers it was listed under. When she finally located it, she clucked her tongue and said, “Ma’am, you purchased this car in 2007, and you’ve never actually activated your account with BMW Assist.”

“Can I activate it now?” I said.

“Do you know the password set up for you by the dealer when you purchased the car?”


She sighed.  Then she asked,  “What is the address on the account?”

I gave her my address in Georgia, which is where I lived when I purchased the car.  That was wrong.  I quickly gave her my Florida address, and she congratulated me.  After I promised to promptly call BMW Assist from the car and sign up for every service they offered, she pressed a magic button that unlocked my car and freed my dogs. Pancho was just finishing off the last of the Pill Pockets.

The dachshunds want to turn him into a hood ornament.

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