Photo and copyright: Robert Knight - https://www.flickr.com/photos/45676495@N05/

“All the woulda-coulda-shouldas layin’ In the sun, talkin’ ’bout the things they woulda-coulda-shoulda done… but all those woulda-coulda-shouldas all ran away and hid from one little did.” ― Shel Silverstein

Every life has its woulda, coulda, shoulda memories. Much time can be wasted in this ancient activity but – sometimes – it’s fun.

My woulda-coulda-shoulda is a 1953 MG-YB. Morris Garages only built this car for three years. It looked old even when it first rolled off the assembly line in 1951. People were looking for something new and her pre-war design was not “the look.” Sales topped at only 1,301 and production was halted in ’53.

Yet, her timeless beauty turned my head when we first met.

Her four doors swung away from their center post which made getting in and out of her dark green leather interior seem almost effortless. I liked those doors, but alas, they aren’t used anymore, the safety guys called them “suicide doors” for all the right reasons. My YB was in her original stylish British black outfit, with steering done from the right and gears changed with my left hand with a lever coming up between the two front seats.

I didn’t know anything about her when we met that spring afternoon in Chicago. She was sitting beside a filling station, alone.

I had a fresh tax refund check in my pocket for $900 and her sign said $995. I decided to give it a go.

She joined my life in the mid ’70s for only a few years. Now, sometimes, I wish she were still part of our family.

The Yorkshire Dales. Can you imagine touring this countryside in a classic car? I sure can.

Now that autumn is just around the corner, I dream of the four of us touring the Yorkshire Dales in her native England. Me at the wheel on the right, with Joyce by my side, and Louisa with her English Cream ears taking wing out a rear window. All riding with my woulda-coulda-shoulda through the country side made famous by James Harriot in All Creatures Great And Small.

She was the one that got away. I’ve lost track of her over the years, of course. Sometimes I wish I could find her and we could pick up where we left off. On the other hand maybe some things are just better as woulda, coulda, shouldas.

But there I go, I’ve wasted enough time on this memory. I need to live today and enjoy the scenery from my current ride. Besides, it’s safer and more practical for all of us.

What moments do you think back on and wonder what could have been?

What, or who, is the one that got away? Share your story with me, then we can compare notes.

We won’t waste too much time on it, but the woulda, coulda, shouldas in our lives are fun, I think.

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran


It would take us a little over four hours to drive down from the Yorkshire Dales to the Lake District of England. Then we could spend time with Rick Steve.