Sort of as a joke, I started writing a farewell letter to my old Chevy truck that will soon be leaving me. My brother comes next week to take her down to California. It got me thinking of all the places and experiences with that old (okay, it's only a '94) truck. I thought I would share it here on my blog since I am into mail and letters too. And I would love to hear about your old cars and if it was difficult to give them up. I think most of us have fond memories of certain cars in our lives.
Oh, precious Chevy truck, you’ve been good to me. It will be sad to see you go. You’ll go on to your new California home and soak in the sun instead of collecting mold and mildew here in the Northwest. You’ll have new adventures without me. You’ll have a view of the ocean every day. I hope you will sometimes think of me and the miles and places, the breakdowns, oil changes, blizzards, chipped windshields, car washes, near misses, and tunes that have blared out of your AM/FM stock radio.
I remember when you first came into my life. I had just returned from a two year, car-less existence in Japan. I found myself alone at my parents in Pennsylvania. Your keys were handed to me and my freedom was once again granted. Oh, America’s roads and a truck, how I missed them! And there you were Chevy, to save me!
You and your clean, white body, your classic red, woolly seat cover interior, tiny pieces of glass along the floor boards from a previous accident that somehow could never be completely vacuumed out, your parking permit from an old jobsite you once worked ever present on the rearview, and those big, lovable side mirrors. All the comforts and your special, unique features only I could appreciate. When your starter began to go, I knew how to lovingly tap it to get us to our next destination until I could afford a new one. Not once did you leave me stranded. Not every truck can say that. We did 3,000 mile road trips across the country with no air conditioning and a limited selection of tunes, but we rolled down those big windows and learned to like top 40 country and songs about Jesus. And silence.
Remember the road trip to Niagra Falls in Canada, and on to Erie, PA, and down to Louisville, KY for the opening day of races? We parked in someone’s front lawn for five bucks. And touring around Amish country with Bridget and meeting Punxsutawney Phil? Many trips through Ohio and Pennsylvania. Trips to Pittsburgh and figuring out those city streets. And, alas, we left your native home to come west.
It was our first real test of your endurance. I couldn’t have been more proud. The first day, in one straight shot, through rain, heavy Chicago traffic, and toll roads, we pulled onto Martin Drive in Milwaukee to meet Jodi. And you must have looked so fine there on the street that no one dare steal from the bed or toolbox. You watched over my things with your easy way, your understated “nothing worth much” here look. As with people, the best ones are often understated. You have no need for flash, you’re comfortable, reliable, and people can light up or spill coffee and you’d never mind. You’d say it’s okay and let the old seat cover act as camouflage. You’d never tell I dropped my cigarette between my legs and nearly wrecked trying to get it out. Yes, you keep my secrets, Chevy truck.
We headed on to Colorado, then through our favorite western states; WY, UT, ID, OR, and on to our new home in Washington. Washington was good to you. We left behind the salt and rust. I found a good job so I could provide you with regular oil changes and maintenance once again. We replaced belts, batteries, and other small parts.
Several times we met snow through the mountains- Snoqualmie, Satus, White, Manastash Ridge, Cabbage- and you were a trooper. You knew, despite my verbal denial, that I was nervous. With each slip, shimmy, and small slide, you could feel my breath being held and my stomach tighten, and you fell back in line and gripped the earth for me, ever moving forward, pushing through the layers of ice and snow. And all without chains! You never made me chain- even that time it was required on Snoqualmie by the time we reached the summit. You and I both knew we’d never get over the top if we stopped in that mess. Neither of us let on to our guest how shaken we were and soon we had dropped into lower elevations of rain ( and into a decent selection of radio stations).
Remember the time I flew into Seattle at midnight and we still had the two and a half hour drive to Yakima? Yes, the ONE time in my life I did not check the fuel gage. I must have been too tired to look at the dash. You warned me we were low on gas in the middle of the dark, high desert…too far from Ellensburg, but not yet home, and not an exit for many miles. Somehow, even on those steep hills, you made those last drops of gasoline last until we could get to the station. You’re so thoughtful, Chevy.
Yes, we’ve been through a lot together; camping trips (where you provided my bed and hauled the wood and gear), trips to the ocean and mountains, endless business trips, visits to Mom and Dad, trips with friends, hauling soil for my husband, helping the neighbors, weekend getaways to Utah and Montana, heading to Vancouver, BC (and safely getting me off that one-way street in time. Sorry for the scare!), I will always remember our adventures together.
It’s hard to let you go. Life changed. Needs changed. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep putting money into you every month. It wasn’t because I didn’t care, I just couldn’t afford it. I had to let you sit and rest a while. And now I send you on to California. I leave you in good hands with my brother. You will remain a ‘Reese’. He has already lined up some pretty exciting events for you. Your bed will be used again, hauling materials around San Francisco and a big trip to Burning Man in the Nevada desert. He may actually have to use the A/C there- try not to overheat on him. Thanks, Chevy. There is also talk of your back bed and toolbox becoming a mobile DJ booth! Imagine opening your toolbox to reveal turntables and lights! You’ll spin tunes like we could have never imagined! I know you’ll be a star. I will check in on you from time to time. And I will always think of you and the wonderful 169,576 miles and memories.
All the best,
Safe journey ’94 Chevy.