Archive for Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goodbye, old friend’

May 27, 2010

We all know that it is a useful, maybe necessary machine. Yet, in the final analysis it is merely a well-planned collection of metal, plastic and rubber. That, however, doesn’t stop us from loving our vehicles and almost being sorry to see them go. Vehicles are often like a member of the family and part of our personalities. Yet, they too, have useful cycles and always end up on the trading block.

Such was the case a week ago when I traded by faithful companion, my 1998 red pickup truck, for a newer car. I felt a tinge of sadness as I cleaned out 10 years of junk. When I got out of the truck, I had to pat the dashboard and say, “goodbye, old friend.”

In our case, the decision was a good one. First, we had the truck for nearly 10 years and the mileage was getting up there. Second, we decided we really didn’t need a pickup truck and, besides, my small unit actually was more of a truck “wannabe.”

Finally, probably the most pressing need came to light due to last winter’s heavy snows. We live in a world of hills. Our driveway is steep and we cannot get out of our subdivision without driving up a high hill. The snows of last winter nearly paralyzed my small, rear-wheel drive truck. Therefore, we bought a vehicle that has all-wheel drive.

Let me add that my pickup didn’t have any dents and was dependable. Yet, it was simply time to move on despite my sentimental feelings.

It made numerous trips to central Kansas when we were preparing to sell Jean’s late mother’s home. We brought back a basement full of stuff and transported items to other family members. The truck also moved grandsons to college.

It also occurred to me that my two oldest grandsons had spent time with me behind the wheel of the pickup truck as they improved driving skills. We went to the high school parking lot on Sundays sometimes for driving practice. I remember my oldest grandson driving the truck while I picked up political signs a few years back. The truck groaned under a variety of heavy loads of dirt for our many landscaping projects.

The truck had been to countless sporting events ranging from high school swimming and tennis to youth baseball, basketball and football games. The truck helped with one of my shortcomings. Since it was easy to spot in a parking lot, I had less trouble losing it than other cars I’ve owned.

I have always believed that a car was a tool. While I have held steadfastly to that belief, there are a few vehicles in my life that have been different.

My all-time favorite was a black 1953 Chevrolet Custom, which started its life as a state vehicle. Since my family did not own a car, I had purchased several $50 junkers in my early college years. This car was, however, my first good car. It was plain, no radio, no air conditioning, nothing out of the ordinary, yet it changed my life. I got it in 1957 and it allowed me to have the mobility to make weekly trips to McPherson when Jean and I were dating, and it was the car that took us away from the church when we got married. It was with us until after we were married and was traded for a 1959 Ford.

In my half century of adulthood, I have owned many cars and I have been fortunate that I never had a real lemon. There is no doubt in my mind that the modern vehicles with power steering, brakes, air conditioning, comfortable seats, air bags, etc., are much safer and more efficient than the old cars. With that said it will take awhile but I’m sure that it won’t be long before my red pickup is forgotten and I will be enjoying the bliss of not worrying about snow and other winter weather. And, yes, I will be enjoying a more comfortable ride in a vehicle that gets better mileage.

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