Saturday, May 24, 2008


I have been remiss in doing a post about a significant occurance in my life last month: I sold my car.

My 1998 dark blue Buick Century "sedan" had mostly been sitting idle in my mother's driveway outside of McDonald, PA, since my move last year to New York City. I had used it during most my visits home but, on some of the trips, I had cheated on it in favor of a more convenient rental from the airport.

The Buick was "a grandma car" but it served me well. I bought it in 2002 after my previous car (my first, a green Chrysler Cirrus) was totalled when a 16-year-old male driver in a red convertible struck me head on after entering my lane while speeding around a blind curve up a hill in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. The driver, his passenger and I all walked away from the accident with nothing more than some scrapes.

The previous owner of the Buick, a woman from my hometown who I knew very well from my parish, had died of cancer a few months prior to the accident. She had kept the car in pristine condition and had put few miles on it. Her husband sold it to me at a very good price.

As they years went on, I often felt bad that I did not keep the car's exterior in such good condition as I knew the previous owner's husband, who lived up the block from my house, often saw that it never got the spit-and-polish treatment it had previously enjoyed.

In fact, the car may have been most recognizable for the large dent in the rear side door that I never did get bumped out. As the years went on, I began to see the dent as theft deterrent. "Some people have The Club, I have a dent," was my slogan.

The Buick saw me through three State House races and was used in community parades with campaign signs plastered over its sides. It was a classic example of what political types call "a campaign car" -- with a backseat and trunk perpetually full of yard signs, brochures, walking lists, parade candy, buttons, pens, stickers and other tools of the trade.

All of this is why I feel a little sad I didn't get a chance to say a personal goodbye to the Buick. The car was sold by remote after I mailed by mother a one-time power-of-attorney letter authorizing her to transfer the title. It was bought by a cousin of my stepfather for use by his new-driver son.

I pray for him and all those who in the future will drive the car and ride in it. May you be safe -- and may the open road (and the hills of Western PA) be your oyster.

FYI: This reflection was sparked by the "Saturday Diary" in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in which Diana Nelson Jones writes about selling her Volvo. The headline: "Carless in Pittsburgh."

No comments: