So Long, Junior.
Today was a momentous day. Along with the joy of our new car, which we got yesterday (pics to come...) comes the sadness of saying goodbye to our old car. (so far Aubrey is not as sad as she should be, I think she's in denial)
Junior was my first car. I got him when I was sixteen. He was 8 years old and had 90,000 miles. That was 14 years and two months ago. He's been a good truck, although his comfort level has declined slightly in recent years. After 14 years its hard to recount all the memories I have made that Junior has been a part of, both good and bad. There have been many road trips, as well as several trips to the ditch, courtesy of Colorado ice. I tried to recount some memories last year. And some others two years ago.
About three years ago I decided that I was going to stop spending money on repairing Junior. He was beginning to show his age, and I decided that I would just let problems go, and when they got too bad, I would know it was time to replace him. Shortly thereafter the muffler broke. Off. Er, it at least rusted through so badly that it didn't work at all. So he was a little loud, but still ran fine. No problem, I just didn't drive him on long trips. More recently the windshield came unsealed. So as Aubrey says, if its raining outside, its raining inside. No problem, I just stopped driving him in the rain. Then there was the infamous incident involving Junior, Aubrey and the senior citizen bus. After that the headlights didn't quite point the right direction, no problem, I just stopped driving him at night. Last December Junior care perilously near the point of no return. For a while he decided not to start regularly. Something about the clutch system. No problem, I just always carried an extra bottle of brake fluid in the car with me when I drove.
So he had some issues, but as long as it was light out, on a cool, dry day with my brake fluid, he was as good as new! Then last week he blew a hole in a radiator hose. I considered restricting him to only very short trips and adding a bottle of coolant to his on board arsenal, but this seemed a little extreme. Aubrey and I began to entertain the difficult (less difficult for Aubrey) idea of replacing him.
Yesterday was the big day. I did a rough patch job on the radiator hose, and sliding into the well worn seat, I got behind the wheel to drive him to the dealership. But alas, it seemed somehow appropriate, his battery was dead. He gave one weak attempt to start, and then sat in silent protest. Having endured the indignity of mufflerless driving, and now the shame of being overlooked in favor of newer, shinier cars, Junior finally would drive no more.
He enjoyed one final day of rest in our friends' Brian and Amanda's driveway while Aubrey and I brought our new car home, and parked it in Junior's spot. It fit perfectly. This morning I went over, said my last goodbye's, removed his license plate, and called the automotive coroner.
I got a little teary as they loaded him up. Fourteen years produce a lot of memories. And the inimitable character of Junior made those memories all the more unique and unforgettable. Despite his many flaws and imperfections He was still my truck, and He was a good truck.