Treading Time

It was hard to see her go. She and I have been together for many years. No longer will I wake up each morning and see her. Be with her. Go everywhere together.

Someone else had their eye on her and just like that, she was gone. She’s with someone else now.

But, to ease the loss, I look on the bright side. She had a lot of miles on her, was showing her age, and I’ve already found another. 

Isn’t it funny how you become so attached to a car?

Automobiles are one of the few inanimate objects that become like a family member. At least, they do in my family.

Not all people become attached to cars. I have a family member who trades in their vehicle every couple of years. Leasing is their preference. There’s minimal commitment in leasing. It’s like saying, “Hey, let’s see each other until June of next year and then we’re breaking up. Sign here.”

I have always been too attached to my cars, especially the first ones I ever owned.

In the 1970s, those of us who were getting our first driver license wound up with used cars. These vehicles, including Ford Mustangs, the Oldsmobile Cutlass, and Chevrolet Chevelles, just to name a few, were basic vehicles. A motor, transmission, and drive train was all it took to get us down the road.

Consequently, most guys became very close to their cars. We could work on them ourselves, and since we had little money, we often did. The amount of time we spent on our ride, whether it was a necessary maintenance or an optional engine upgrade or stereo installation, gave us a closeness to our car that rivaled the feelings we had for our best girl.

Also, many of us became so attached that we would keep our vehicles for a long time. I have a few buddies who still have the cars they had in high school. But, myself and many of my friends had to let their favorite high school or college car go because of repairs we couldn’t afford, spiking gasoline prices over the years, or accidents that sent our precious wheels to the wrecking yard.

The latter was heartbreaking. Knowing that the car in which you got your first kiss or drove to see a Peter Frampton concert was going to be stripped as a parts car, or would wind up being recycled as parts for a toaster or a bumper for a Yugo, were more than you could bear.

Guys who grew up in the 60s and 70s are a nostalgic bunch when it comes to our cars. If we weren’t able to keep our first set of wheels, we often try to buy back our youth.

Over the years, I’ve bought a number of cars and trucks that were made during my youth. Hours of maintenance and upgrades allowed me to relive trips to concerts, driving to see friends (some of whom are no longer with us), and many nights of just cruising the streets of my hometown. 

As I swapped cars this past week, passing on the one I’ve driven for the last several years, which still has many years left in it because I have maintained it meticulously, I tried to count the number of vehicles I’ve owned over the years.

I couldn’t.

I could remember and count most of them, but during the two decades of raising children, I honestly can’t remember all of the cars I’ve owned. Part of that I blame on some of them being station wagons and minivans.

There are just some traumatic parts of your life that your mind suppresses for your own well being. Going from driving a tricked out 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with Crager Mags, to an orange 1977 Chevy Vega station wagon is about as traumatic as it gets for a guy.

But, as the years pass, you realize that some things, you just have to let go. Family requirements and practicality require you to make sensible decisions. You can’t hang on to your youth forever, and the days of cruising main street are over.

Or are they?

I’ve decided that I can still have the best of both worlds. There’s no reason that I can’t still have a cool car, ride down the road with my best girl by my side, and go see a Peter Frampton concert.

And I’m working on that. However, a few compromises will have to be made. Peter is still touring, and I have my best girl. But we’ll going to his concert in a Prius.

Maybe part of my new car was made out of my 1972 Olds Cutlass.

©2018 John Moore

John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, is available on Amazon. 

Email John at

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