Every four years I have to buy a new car. That means, the best our two-person Rockport home has at any one time is a brand new car and a four-year-old car. The worst (in terms of age of vehicles) is having a four-year-old car and an eight-year-old car.
When we are at the four-year and eight-year mark, the four-year-old vehicle always has about 130,000 miles, and the eight-year-old vehicle has between 180,00 and 200,000 miles.
Yep, we drive a lot.
I’m sure I’m not the only man who sees a car, especially when it’s about to be traded in, as some type of calendar marked in fading memories, which must be read before the trade is finalized.
Most women, if anything like my wife, are fine just saying, “Good riddance old car!”
We ended up in Corpus Christi Saturday looking at new cars since my four-year mark is around the corner.
I’ll tell you right now COVID-19 has put a damper on vehicle selection.
The car I’ve been driving the past four years is a maroon (surprise, surprise) Honda Accord with a six-cylinder engine. It’s the best car I’ve owned for traveling long distances, with plenty of get up and go when passing multiple cars.
There were no six-cylinder Honda Accords on the lot Saturday. But, there were plenty of “turbo-charged” four-cylinders sitting around in an array of colors and styles.
At 61 years of age, anything “turbo-charged” sounds pretty good.
By the time we made a decision between cars at the Honda and Toyota dealerships, it was too late to fully complete the transaction (i.e.- not enough time to get the new car ready).
Before making the trip back over the bridge Monday afternoon, I asked by wife if she wanted to go with me. You know, something along the lines of, “Hey honey, this will be your last trip in the Honda Pilot … the car you’ve driven the past four years.”
Her answer came pretty quick.
“Nope, don’t need to,” she said.
How could she say that? This was a momentous occasion (at least in my mind). Think of all the memories notched in the frame of that vehicle during the last eight-plus years.
As I drove the Honda Pilot across the bridge I started thinking about what all had occurred in our family during its lifetime.
When we bought it our oldest daughter had just gotten married. Our youngest daughter was a senior at Texas A&M and may or may not have started dating her husband by then. I’m dad, and not expected to remember all those dates, just my anniversary!
That car witnessed our daughters’ college graduations, my youngest daughter’s wedding, a grandson, another grandson, finally a granddaughter, another grandson, a granddaughter, and almost another granddaughter. She will enter this world soon, but will never personally experience the history-making 2011 maroon Honda Pilot.
It was around when my mother, who turns 90 Thursday, had a major stroke a couple of months before Harvey. It traversed all kinds of debris after the storm, never getting a flat tire.
It witnessed placing my father into assisted living at Eden Hill in New Braunfels, the place my parents now call home.
Prior to dropping it off and waving goodbye, it encountered no symptoms of COVID-19.
That sucker is a survivor.
Now it’s time for stories to unfold involving a new “turbo-charged” vehicle.
I don’t know what memories will unfold, but if the timeline holds true, when this new car is traded in, I will most likely be retired (69 years old), and my oldest two grandsons will be 14!
A car is a calendar for this man.
Who knows, maybe by then my wife will join me on the trade-in trip.
Nah, she’ll just hit replay … “Good riddance old car!”
Mike Probst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.