To market, to market, to buy a new rig.
Home again, home again…jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, my head in a fog.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.
(Apology to the ‘knee-bouncing’ nursery rhyme that has been around since the 16th century.)
My super-dependable automobile is doing great, but it has lots and lots of miles under its belt – 276,135 to be exact. When I bought it back in 2001 as a program car, it had 14,ooo miles on the odometer. Over the years there have been minor issues, like driving without an air conditioner the first summer, or driving through the Smokies with wipers that wouldn’t shut off after the rains stopped. None of the issues have left me stranded, though, (except once when I damaged the black box (brains?) trying to jump my lawn mower with my car battery) so I love this car. I feel safe in this car. It has been to the East Coast twice and as far west as Las Vegas. Even now, with that many miles, I wouldn’t hesitate to head out on a long trip. It has been serviced regularly by a crew that is now used to my sound effects and weird vocabulary when I notice something unusual about its sounds and smells and I want them to check it.
I rely on sounds and smells to keep it in tip-top shape since the motor under that hood looks nothing like the slant-6 in my first car. My grandpa taught me how to change the oil in that first one, and my dad helped me repair it from a pay phone on Broadway in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, during grad school. There have been vehicles in my repertoire that needed the oil checked before each turn of the key, and along with extra cans of oil and an opener and a funnel, I carried a bottle of coke to pour over corrosion on the battery if I had to lift the hood to jiggle connections. There’s nothing about that part of the good ol’ days that I miss.
I have never checked the oil in this one. Knock on wood, give the car a love pat…it doesn’t use oil yet and it doesn’t blow funny-smelling or funny-looking smoke out its tailpipe. It gets serviced every 3000 miles regardless of the current information that every 5000 is sufficient. (How would you feel if your usual 3 meals a day suddenly were spread over two days? We are creatures of habit; no doubt my car is as well.)
It may not have funny sounds or smells, but everyone in my family thinks it’s a funny-looking car. I like it. That’s the important consideration. Some in the family think I should be considering the purchase of a newer rig, but there aren’t any more like this one being made, so that narrows my search field to cars that look similar to it, or identical ones in a more recent model with fewer miles, with an affordable price tag, I might add. I cringe at the thought of spending dollars on a car in the same range as the dollars I spent on my first house!
It doesn’t exactly have the same sexy appeal that my dream car had, the one I didn’t purchase after college because I decided to get married instead. That was a two-door Plymouth Duster, sky blue with white leather interior, bucket seats, shifter in the floor. You get the idea.
But my 2001 Pontiac Aztek and I have been inseparable, contrary to the situation with that husband. We rely on each other in good times and bad, fun excursions or dire emergencies. I have shared rides with laughing, singing grandchildren and aging parents, to the movies or to chemo treatments. It is always ready for an impromptu trip to my home town, St. Louis, or to wherever my nose leads me. It took me to work faithfully for years and now it is helping me adjust to retirement.
We have made it past the quarter-of-a-million miles goal. Wonder if we can make it to half -a -million? We are grateful for every additional dependable mile and we are having fun, too!