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BEACON Senior News

Through my review mirror

Jul 24, 2023 02:10PM ● By Rhonda Wray

Sometimes my car feels like my home away from home—and there have been several such “homes” over my years as a driver.

I’ll bet most of you can recite a list of your cars. We spend a ton of time and money maintaining and driving them, right? I haven’t owned flashy cars or even that many in my four-plus decades of driving, but they feature prominently in my memories. 

My siblings and I drove a gold Oldsmobile (emphasis on “old”) to school. I was a new driver when the “Gold Olds” got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. I drove reeeaaallly slowly all the way home, flashers on—and totally trashed the rim. Oops. 

The first car that was mine alone was a gray Chevy Malibu, which I dubbed “Malibu Barbie.” We suspected the seller reset the odometer, because her ailments didn’t correspond with her low miles. When the transmission needed to be overhauled to the tune of $600, I was living paycheck to paycheck and had to take out a loan to cover it. 

After I bid Barbie good riddance, I entered my Japanese auto era. Still young and poor, I leased a red Subaru GL—until an uninsured teenage motorist collided with it. 

Then came the minivans. While driving home from the Pueblo Reservoir after my annual company picnic, we spotted a dealership and impulsively pulled in. Before long, we were the owners of an egg-shaped burgundy Toyota Previa with room for our growing family.

It served us well until deals on new cars were too good to pass up, even for this avowed used car buyer. We purchased another minivan—a 2002 Toyota Sienna. Baby number last rode home from Penrose Community Hospital in it. We drove interest-free for nearly four years, but nervously paid off the balance a few months early so we wouldn’t get slapped with all the interest we’d avoided. “Ol’ Blue” served us well, transporting us to Canada and other road trip locales, teaching teenagers to drive (and connecting with a parking garage pole and a couple bumpers in the process) and serving as Mom’s Uber for 230,000 miles. 

Then came the twig that broke the car’s mobility ability. After a treacherous windstorm, I hadn’t driven far when a wayward branch got all up in my car’s grill (proving the adage that most accidents happen close to home). All seemed well—until it wasn’t, and smoke billowed out. The javelin-like limb had hit the bullseye of my radiator, piercing it through. After 18 years, it was time to part ways with my longest-lasting car, “Ol’ Blue.” 

I dreaded replacing it. Wheeling and dealing—ugh! But when I discovered no-haggle dealerships, I breathed a sigh of relief and located my preferred year and color. My rationale for choosing coppery brown? In a sea of lovely but ubiquitous silver and white vehicles, I wanted one that was quickly identifiable in parking lots. “Rhonda Honda” was my junior-high nickname, and this Rhonda finally got her Honda. 

Six vehicles handled all that driving, all those experiences. In mid-June, the Honda was hammered by hail from the icy deluge that blasted through the northeast part of town. She is not quite as pristine now, her hood dimpled with cellulite, but she runs fine. She’s a keeper. Until it’s time to surrender the keys, I’ll keep rolling along, racking up the miles in my home on wheels. 

If you’re a car owner who’s anything like me, you’ll get a kick out of this story:

My new cars have never been new

My new cars have never been new

To me, a car is merely something that transports me from point A to point B. All I care about is that it runs and doesn’t explode into flames when I turn it on. Read More » 


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