Monday, March 12, 2012

Goodbye, Old Friend

I once again missed my regularly scheduled post on Thursday, but I had a fairly good reason.  I was bidding a fond farewell to Tom Sawyer.

Tom is, or rather was, my 1994 Volvo Turbo.  I've owned him for six years and we've had quite a few adventures together, he and I and various members of my acquaintance.  He was the chief 'pack mule' for many a youth group outing during my tenure as advisor; he conveyed me on numerous trips to Hersheypark and to Sherlock Holmes club meetings and all around my beloved Lehigh Valley.

Why was he called Tom Sawyer, you might ask?  Well, the car was a gift from my parents on the occasion of my fifth wedding anniversary.  On the way to the dealership to collect this vehicle they had chosen for me, I was making a list of names that I might give to it.  I always name my cars.  The other household vehicle, which we refer to as "Kevin's car" even though it's in both of our names, is called Haldir, after the blond elf who snuffs it at Helm's Deep from the film version of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.  We usually call him Hal for short.  Anyway, I had an incomplete list in my head when we reached our destination, and the car was pointed out to me.

And all I could think was, "You're a Tom Sawyer if I ever saw one."  The scrappy little red four-door just seemed to fit the name perfectly.  As I drove him home, the song of the same name by the band Rush came on the radio, which pretty much cemented it.  For the next six years, we were great friends.

Unfortunately, in the last several months Tom started feeling his age, and he flunked his most recent inspection.  Being a Volvo, and an old Volvo at that, replacement parts for Tom are hard to come by and pretty darn expensive, as I know from previous repairs.  So my mechanic told me bluntly that it would be cheaper, and smarter, to get a new car.  I trust my mechanic, who has been servicing my husband's family's cars for years, and finding a new car wasn't difficult (to my surprise).  Saying goodbye to Tom, however, was.

I spent a good long time with him, cleaning out the trunk and apologizing for the situation.  I don't know why I think the cars understand me.  They always seem to have personalities, which is part of why I name them, and Tom had lots of personality.  I felt bad letting him go.  But I'd found a website that gave me a halfway decent offer for him, and the tow truck driver who arrived to pay me and take him away was very friendly.  It made me feel better; my old friend was in good hands.

I put my hand on the hood and thanked Tom for his years of service.  As I watched him be eased onto the flatbed truck, I had an odd urge to salute.  I didn't give in to this urge, but it was there.

He rolled down the street and out of sight, off on his next adventure.  I got behind the wheel of my new car - a blue Ford Taurus I've named Winry - and prepared to do the same.

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