Monday, January 17, 2011

Never Can Say Goodbye

Unfortunately, this is the only good picture I can find of my old '90 Lumina, this partial with my Mom sitting in it. I place this here, because just minutes ago the old girl was towed off to that big scrapheap in the sky. We got nearly twenty good years out of that car, more than we ever expected to get out of it. And with all the amazing memories of the places that battered behemoth took us to, I have to say it was hard to let it go.

But when I look at our new '96 Buick, it wasn't that hard....

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Long National Nightmare is Over...

Deena and I got a new car today.

Just to give you an idea about how timely this new car came into our lives, as some of you may know, we've been nursing our 1990 Lumina like a patient at a nursing home for more than a year now. We have literally been trapped within the confines of Columbus, Indiana, with the exception of the occasional rental to get to important Whoosier Network meetings, because once the car hit over 50 the motor would start sputtering, missing, clacking, and doing all manner of nasty things. I've taken it to our regular mechanic many times, and he's practically begged us to consider a new car.... to the point that he decided it wasn't worth trying to fix.

Last week, while driving back from Mom's, the engine started missing.... horribly. And then the front wheels started wobbling like the front end was out of alignment. And for most of this week, it was everything it could do to get me from home to work everyday... and thank God work for me is just a few blocks east of us. But there was no doubt about it this time. We had to get something workable and fast.

Anyway, we came across an ad in the paper for a well maintenanced 1996 Park Ave. Buick for $1900. Yes, lots of mileage on it (189,000), but we were desperate enough that we thought it wouldn't hurt to at least check it out. So I called the lady who had the car, but only got the answering machine. So I left a message, but I didn't hear back from her right away, so I figured it was a lost cause.

But Tuesday she called and said the car was still available, but that I might want to wait a couple of days until the snowstorm let up. I told her if it was all right, I'd really like to take a look at it right away. So I got out there (she lived only about a mile down the road from my Mom's, and the coincidences don't end there) and she let me take it for a test drive.

Immediately I could see driving this thing would be like driving Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Practically everything is powered and run by buttons, with a surprise at every turn. I haven’t driven anything like this car since my beloved ’74 Marquis back in the 80’s, which, but for a black paint job and a set of green headlights, was my personal Black Beauty. The only real flaw it had that I could see was a small electrical problem that kept the driver’s seat from moving forward or backward, which my mechanic said he could fix in a jiffy next time I came in. It rode like a dream and handled really well in the snowy weather.

We got all the title transfers, plate switches, and paperwork all done in minutes at the BMV (yeah, go figure that), and we took it out for a cross-country acid test last night. Ran great, has terrific gas mileage, and we’re extremely happy.

But here’s the weird part… the woman who sold it to me is the sister of the ex-husband of my sister Tammie. On top of that, last night I discovered that my mechanic is the uncle of my other sister Vicki’s husband Kenny. None of this was known to me as we’ve only reconnected in the past two years after a very long estrangement from my late father and his family. So everyone involved in this transaction is somehow related to me in one way or another.

And I’m certain that, hiding in the shadows of my neighborhood, Rod Serling’s smoking his cigarette and going “So, how you likin’ the Twilight Zone, kid?”