Carol Jane Remsburg
Eve isn't a child. Eve is my new vehicle. Yes, I name my car or truck or whatever it is that I'm driving. It's something from ages old that I learned from my dad. I've had three vehicles of my own not counting the one I bought off my brother-in-law or grandmom's old car.
The first car we purchased on our own in dire need I dubbed "Gracie." She was the ONE car that Consumer Digest had titled the "worst car to own." I don't know why because she was wonderful from start to finish. Gracie was a 1984 Pontiac Sunbird. She was a gray, tiny subcompact, 4-door, with a teensy 4 cylinder engine, BUT she was a 'front wheel' drive car that always got me to work even with her low clearance. Gracie was a "five year" car and we bought her in 1984 and traded her in 1998 for a special car, one that would run for twenty years. Did you hear tales about those cars too? Well, I did and held them close to my heart. On this next purchase we invested.
Ever get nervous about a vehicle purchase? Okay, so we all do. But this time we were in a position to buy whatever we wanted and didn't want to make a bad choice. Although we asked around to friends and family and scoured the Consumer Digest for the best buy, we opted for older, sager advice. If you want a car that will run for twenty years—buy Volvo!
We weren't yuppies or guppies or anything else. We were a couple who had been married nearly eight years without a child we desperately wanted as we watched our families dwindle. We wanted to put the money to good use.
We talked, we researched, and then we talked some more. Then we bought. On a rainy/sleety March night we drove the sixty miles to the Volvo dealership to make our purchase. The salespeople were astonished because before we'd even walked in the building we knew what we were looking for and had spotted it on the lot. We drove away with it totally paid for that very same night. To everyone's surprise it happened.
This was a 1989, top of the line, 760 4-cylinder turbo charged wagon in the color of "Champagne." This car was not only indulgent but a supposed workhorse. It had everything from leather to power everything and even "butt-warmers." I didn't deserve this car and felt it from the first. Then we made friends. Within the week, her name was apparent. She WAS The Duchess. Her lineage was unmistakable but she acquiesced her lady like ways to accommodate me. I appreciated her, adored her, and that little wagon helped me to escape more accidents than I'd care to name.
The Duchess was a true wonder. She was always beautiful and kept me safe even after she began to falter. I could name many, but on one notable occasion, she did the driving when shock kept me from it. It would have certainly been a pileup but she averted me to the grass along the road. The car behind me STILL hit the car in front of me.
No matter her upkeep costs, which WERE costly, for the Duchess had a voracious diet of brakes and rotors (when I never rode the brakes) and the internal electrical systems were another issue like air conditioning that didn't last after the third year, power window problems and all the rest that we don't need to address. The Duchess had issues. She demanded certain things. I did my best and it wasn't enough. Still, she suffered with a broken universal joint for nearly two years before I braved her repair and discovered I was running the risk of death every time I drove her. Then there was the exhaust manifold that made her sound like a "funny car" for nearly two years.
Through it all, those twelve years, The Duchess was a grand dame. Perhaps a bit quirky yet she always kept my best interests at heart. Then last month I betrayed her. I traded her in for something that didn't leak a gallon of oil a month or have that sullen 'brr' in the lower range. Yes, I felt just like a traitor after all that time. I loved my Duchess.
Over the last six years everything had gotten much taller than The Duchess. I constantly fretted and complained about not being able to see. Finances, finances and more finances, after the Duchess had come into the fold we'd purchased a pickup for my hubby. Eight years later, it was dead or nearly so. He bought a new pickup after eight years. I didn't know how the Duchess would hold up for another six or so years. I knew she couldn't.
Finally, we bit the bullet.
I had looked and researched out many vehicles and cheap ones. I needed tall but didn't think I could afford it. I looked at the sassy new little Escapes by Ford. Yes, they are cute and nice, but they ARE small. But even the cheapest Explorers couldn't see anything and were tight on the interior. The GMC's the Chevy's and the rest were the same. Their seats were about four inches thick—kinda scared me. Everything in the interior was small. I wasn't used to that. Hubby led me in a different direction. Not an SUV of either an Escape, Explore, Expedition, Blazer, Yukon, Jimmy, Suburban, or any of the rest. We looked. I didn't like and felt I couldn't afford any of them. Even the expensive ones didn't appeal.
I secretly wanted real power back. I wanted height. And I didn't want to give up my leather luxury either. After twelve years it's hard to go back. What did I do?
Well, I opted for a pickup.
But it wasn't any pickup. This would be something that I'd have to learn to drive as well. This was NO CAR.
I knew my Evie when I saw her. She was a "Super Crew" cab with 4 doors, true doors, a Ford XLT Lariat with leather, my familiar 8-way seats AND my butt warmers. With her 17 inch tires I sat tall. She had a short bed with a roll-out extension bars and I was in love. She was even the "champagne" color of the Duchess.
From our initial meeting her power was evident. Little Evie knows that I'm an avid learner and is full of constant delights. From her compass directions to her 6-CD player and her windows that actually close and that sexy "new vehicle" smell. I'm hooked.
The last vehicle I drove with her saucy power was granny's old car. Don't laugh. It was a 1969 Chrysler 300 with an 8-cylinder 440 engine that ate gas and laughed at you but always took you home. Now that's power.
So my little Evie is now firmly in residence. After twelve years I still mourn the Duchess and even Gracie, but I know that Evie will be there for me and those that went before her were well loved.
Thank your vehicle tomorrow—new or not, they know the way home and work hard to take you there.