I bought a new car. Really sporty. A Jeep Compass Trailhawk, 2018. She’s got these red tow hooks accenting a mostly white body, with a black wide stripe on the hood, and black roof. Two-toned is just my style, since I like both black and white. I’m a chiaroscuro, a light-against-dark gal. A positive side, and a dark-night-of-the-soul kind of person. My new car is so cute, I decide to call her “Cait, the Compass.” She tells me where to go. I plan the bumper stickers, even. I can’t wait to visit the online Catholic store to order two Miraculous Medal images of Our Lady. They look ethereal, because they are like vellum: see-through. I’ll put one in each back little window. My red rosary with Pope John Paul II medals will accompany us as well as we travel. A new red key chain that I can find easily in my purse. Perfect.
I’m excited about the back- up camera, the nice stereo, with satellite radio, free for a year. I like sitting up high and having four-wheel drive. The leather/fabric seats aren’t too shabby either.
I’d had the dealer drive my car that I’d inherited from my mother in law out to my daughter in college. Then the driver brought back our old minivan, “Vanna White.” Katie, my daughter, had been driving Vanna and complaining that Vanna was aging. Her joints were creaky. She lacked get up and go.
Our salesman, Tom, called us, thinking we’d want to look her over and make sure we didn’t leave anything valuable in the seats and convenient pockets.
“Okay,” I agreed with Rob. I was a little surprised that Rob wanted to check out Vanna. My hubby was curious about the recent side-swipe Katie had with a Trader Joe’s shopping cart corral, out at the beach. I felt a little ambivalent. Indifference, avoidance, guilt. Tired of spending money on mechanical problems on my Chrysler product. But, okay … we need to pick up the old tag and turn in it to the DMV.
Maybe there was a long-lost souvenir tucked between the seats?
So we drove over.
She was relegated to the far end of the lot, the limbo between the fresh-off-the-factory vehicles in the showroom, and the junkyard. Her world had shrunk. Like an old person getting ready for Heaven, she didn’t need blinkers, horn, or new treads anymore. The remote-control sliding doors still worked. Her once-pastel-gray upholstery was stained with coffee, chocolate, and spills of who knows what. There was a tear in the seam of the driver’s seat. So many ins and outs on that side.
I walked around the rear and remembered my son’s fist on the hard hatch fender. He’d been mad at me that day. There were the bumper stickers: UNCW Mom, UNC@Greensboro, CATHOLIC, and Swim. I remembered how she sounded when I turned the key. Like a faithful ol’ lady, drinking her coffee, putting on her face from a jar, in the morning.
Oh my goodness.
All the college trips,
As I drove.
Cross Country races,
And, the music.
Oh my goodness, the playlist goes on.
And still I drive.
It is the end of an era.
When I test drove a new mini-van, it just made me tired. I turned around from the driver’s seat and saw all those new empty seats. Like a big house. “Too much to clean,” I thought.
But I’ll miss Vanna.
Thanks for keeping us safe.
Copyright 2018 Susan Anderson