When I was 20 years old, I bought my first brand new car. It was a foolish decision at the time because I truly couldn’t afford it. On the way home from the dealership, I got a speeding ticket. Probably should have viewed that as an omen!
I struggled and struggled to make the payments on the thing but I held my own and paid it off back in 2007.
Yesterday, someone crossed the highway right in front of me and that car, that vehicle that has taken me everywhere for the last 11.5 years, is totaled.
I’m only writing about this because there were no life-threatening injuries with the wreck. My mom was with me and she and I both will be okay, just sore and battered and bruised.
So my thoughts turn toward a strange place – the end of a chapter of my life. Because it wasn’t just a car….though it was….but it was so much more to me.
That car was a symbol of not giving up. Of lessons learned about living within or even below your means. It was the car that brought home Reagan and me from the hospital when she was born. It was the car that took me faithfully back and forth to school for 2 and a half years. The car that Shey and I took to Gatlinburg when we got married, to the coast for getaway weekends, on our fantastic vacation in Florida last year. It was the car that Reagan and I took on all of our mommy/daughter trips. The car that one of my best friends and I took to Memphis to see Keith Urban in concert. The car that sported ad magnets for my dad when he ran for sheriff. The car that saw Reagan go from carrier car seat, regular car seat, booster seat, to front seat.
In the 11+ years I had her, I’ve had very little work that had to be done on her. A transmission flush here, a set of tires or brakes there, some work on the AC. Nothing major.
It’s hauled groceries, luggage, children, furniture and electronics. Often surprising me at just how much it could hold in its deceptively small looking cargo space.
Yesterday, when we wrecked, that little Toyota Matrix held her own. Those seatbelts held and those airbags burst and in the blink of an eye, the end of an era has happened. I’ve only ever owned 2 cars in my life and never wrecked one. It feels so strange to go out my front door and not see it. I was eventually going to have to get something else to drive because she was showing her age. Loose struts, pretty bad oil leak, and 235,000 miles of wear and tear. I just didnt think our “relationship” would end quite this way. And, weird as it sounds, it was a relationship. I depended on that car and only once or twice has she failed me.
Yesterday, she didn’t fail me. She did everything she was supposed to do in the frightening possibility of an accident. And I walked away with my life and my mom.
I know things are just that…..things. They can be replaced.
Still, I can’t help but be a little sad, a little nostalgic. Because like so many other experiences in the last year or two, I am reminded that life is short. Temporary. Unpredictable.
So goodbye “BB” – thanks for the memories.