Ran originally in the August 2, 2020 Sunday editions of The Times and The News-Star
TEDDY ALLEN/Designated Writers
There are 213,063 miles under her hood.
We’ve shared life’s curves and straightaways, valleys and hilltops, sometimes cruising, but mostly hard, set-your-chin-to-the-wind driving.
That’s a lot of miles to spend together.
And now it’s time to say goodbye.
Breaking up is hard to do, but not this go ’round. We both knew.
She won’t miss me. I kept her in all the best stuff when we’re talking oil changes and tire rotations. But the interior had begun to look like a rock star’s hotel room after an all-night party.
Funny what you find in your car when it’s time to part ways. A parking stub from the Heart of Dallas Bowl—in 2014. I took a friend to the doctor and found the DVD of his test results—from 2016. A picture book from the Masters Golf Tournament—in 2017.
A Ray Stevens CD and several others, although the CD player hasn’t worked since Obama was president—the first time.
It’s really a shame how much I let the interior turn into a posterior. Pushed her hard and cleaned her seldom. So no, she won’t miss me a lick. Besides, I have more miles on me than she has on her, and let’s face it, she’s got a lot of miles.
I inherited her from my spousal unit and good gracious, was I proud. What model was she, you ask? (The car, not the spousal unit.) She was a 2009 Paid4, my very favorite model. Every mile felt like a freebie.
She’s not what I would have chosen (and again, we’re talking about the car and not the spousal unit), but the price was right and she was dependable as a pencil. In a weird, sadistic sort of way, we were meant for each other.
We’ve been north to Wichita, Kansas, south many times to New Orleans, west to Dallas/Fort Worth two dozen times at least, and east to Shelby, North Carolina. And many points in between.
She’s been to the Redneck Riviera—although not recently, sad to say—and to Lake View, South Carolina where I drove her around town on the same roads I used to ride my bike and drive a red Farmall tractor.
No telling how many times she’s heard me say, “If we can just get to Atlanta” and then “If we can just get to Birmingham” and then “If we can just get to Meridian” and on like that until you hit the Louisiana state line and feel you have a fightin’ man’s chance of actually making it home, which you finally do, rear end shredded and nerves frayed, but home nonetheless, and it was her who did the heavy lifting when you were actually just sort of along for the ride.
She never gave me any trouble. I could write about the F-150s and Chevy Silverados and Fairlanes and Geo Prisms I have known, about a Jeep Wrangler and a Cherokee, a Sentra and an Accord, even a VW Jetta and Bug. I liked them all better than my 2009 Paid4. But none were more faithful.
The idea now? Kiss her right square on the radiator, pat her on the master cylinder, and tell her to keep on truckin’. Just without me.