Friday Things: Saying Goodbye to Old Cars

Early this morning we said farewell to a member of the family fleet.  We bought this used Audi A6 when Claire was in high school.  She wanted something cooler to drive than the family mini-van or M.J.’s dented Camry. But fourteen years later (and probably close to 150,000 miles–the odometer broke some time ago) the “cool” car was giving us a good deal of grief.

In the past when the car was having troubles we’d take it to a guy named Mike who wore a leather do-rag and had a penchant for fast cars. He’d tinker with the Audi just enough to keep it going, though he could never get the “check engine” light to stay off for long. Which wasn’t a problem until Will drove it to get his driver’s license and the DMV refused to let him take his test because the light was still on. We had assured him that wouldn’t be a problem.  I’m not sure we’ve been forgiven yet.

The Audi was primarily the kids’ car and took all three of them to early morning seminary, school, sports practices, proms and even honeymoons. When they left it became M.J.’s commute car–fine for short drives to catch the casual carpool but without heat or air conditioning not all that fun to spend time in.  With our move up into the foggy hills it became more crucial to reliably defrost the windows. But Mike’s shop had moved to a less convenient location and even if he had been close by, the heating and air conditioning repairs would have been more than the car was worth.  A few months ago the electrical system started to fail so we couldn’t lock the doors or gas tank and in the last few weeks the car alarm started to go off erratically. So we made the hard decision to let her go.

Before the tow truck sent by the Red Cross took her away, M.J. laid his hands on the hood and thanked the Audi one last time for carrying all that precious cargo all these years.   And me, well I’ve spent the day feeling a little bereft about the empty parking space at the end of the driveway.

Here are a few other things that carried me through this week.

Mirror, mirror on the (exterior) walls–I could see myself in this reflective house.

Ideas for fireplaces and, of interest to me now, attractive firewood stacking.

Some thoughts on cooking mindfully.

Beautiful images of Vienna, where I studied abroad in the winter of 1978.

Tom Hanks on his two years at my local community college.

Local Idaho boy makes good–this kid’s from my home town!

New Yorker cartoons in response to Charlie Hebdo.

Common and John Legend perform the Golden Globe winning “Glory.”

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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.