Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Car, Pay Diem

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“It rattles, shakes and knocks,” I said to my brother, Bubba. “I’m almost afraid to drive it.”

“So, it runs like a car with 280,000 miles on it?”

“No. We refer to 280,000 miles as ‘the good old days,’” I sighed.

Big Green came to us about seven years ago. She had more miles on her than we’d like, but she started, she ran, and she accommodated enough cabooses for our giant clan. Considering I’d just rolled our family van in a three-flip horror, Big Green was in considerably better shape than our other car.

Now, she shimmies and clangs like a two-ton belly dancer. The dash lights went out a couple years ago, and because Mr. Wright deemed removing the dashboard to fix the bulb too problematic, I now use a flashlight propped on top of the steering column to check the speedometer. The back window doesn’t properly close anymore, so we have a rag stuffed into the latching mechanism to keep the interior light from staying on – or would, if the interior light worked.

A family of four could be fed from the scraps and crumbs of French fries, potato chips, dry cereal and assorted other snack foods wedged into the cracks and between the seats. We could probably create a small island with the mud caked on the headlights – which, by the way, we can’t wash because we have a low beam out, and the dirt is masking the fact that we’re driving around with our brights on all the time.

Vehicle maintenance is not a gift the Gonzos possess.

Big Green is getting on in years. She has a ton of miles on her, and she’s held together mostly by prayer. She doesn’t look as great as she used to. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m responsible for the big scratch on the rear panel. I just haven’t confessed to Mr. Wright yet that I backed into the fence around the pool. He was pretty upset at the thought of a stranger doing the damage in a parking lot, so I’m not sure how he’d react to his beloved bride proving to be the culprit.

Like Big Green, I’m getting older. I’d like to say I’m aging gracefully, but really, I’m just aging. My odometer keeps ticking, and some days I, too, am held together by stubbornness and prayer. The mirror reports I don’t look as great as I did ten years ago – though Mr. Wright swears I look better.

As beat-up and sad as our old rig is, Mr. Wright isn’t making plans for trading her in. He has this funny idea about getting a full lifetime out of things. Thankfully, he feels the same way about marriage. I’d hate to see him driving around in a new, sporty convertible. Know what I mean?

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