My Old Car

Change makes me sentimental; even inanimate objects
are imbued with my emotion because we’ve spent time together. There
was a change this week, a four year long relationship between car and
driver halted by a transmission that no longer works. My old Chevrolet Lumina left home for the last time driverless except for a ghost behind the wheel.

I got the Lumina’s replacement a few weeks ago. I could tell you what
a good deal it was but I have talked so much about it that I’ve
probably already spoken to you personally or you’ve heard it from
someone else. Let’s just talk about the relationship I’ve enjoyed the
past three and a half years from behind the wheel of a GM product.

I purchased the car from a local lady in July of 2005. Previously, I
had made a habit of trading cars fairly often and for no good reason.
A car purchase may have been spurred on by my need for change or even
boredom. This little car was different, I purchased it because I knew
it would last and get decent gas mileage. This was the car that
announced, “I have put aside childish things and am now mature.”

The Lumina had become famous for one thing, a bullet hole in the
right, front quarter panel. I was making war against the red
squirrels the summer of 2006 when the Lumina caught a ricochet
intended for a tiny, red invader. That evening, just before I pulled
the trigger, I’d thought how the squirrel’s position on the sidewalk
made it an easy shot. I never considered that my old car was playing
catcher to my wild pitch. I suspect the bullet lodged somewhere in
the firewall. I even considered digging it out prior to the sale last
week as a sort of keepsake, but declined at the effort.

I’ve heard the song, “My Old Yellow Car” playing over and over in my
head this week. It’s a nice old tune from Dan Seals. He sings about
getting nostalgic over his old, junked car and the memories, good and
bad, created in it. If you listen to the words, it’s not so much the
car that he misses as his youth and the simplicity of the times spent
in his former vehicle. In my own case, the times spent in that old
Lumina were pretty ordinary; going to work, driving into town for
supplies, etc. The thing is, every moment in life is precious and
sometimes it takes loss to jar that fact loose from our minds. It’s
fortunate that my loss is small, it’s just a car.

So the Lumina left on a car dolly, driverless except for the ghost of
my own dreams and realization that nearly four years had passed since
it’s purchase. I’ve got a brand new dream machine and she’s a
creampuff, owned by an elderly lady who slowly drove it around Devils Lake,
North Dakota and little else. Its time to move on and start the next four years
and make every one of those simply memorable, because no one knows how many Lumina’s are left in their future.

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