Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Ode to Aurora

I don't think I'm overly sentimental about many material things - more than some people, probably, and less than others, and I am getting better at letting go of the past (and the rubbermaids full of its relics) all the time. If it came down to it - if I had the means to replace it and/or no way to repair it, I could bid my car a fond farewell without shedding a tear. However, in the midst of its recent trauma, I couldn't dream up a feasible way to replace her and by some miracle bestowed upon us by the Credit Score Gods or dumb luck, I was able to finance her repairs. So, she's back.

I like that I still get to drive the car that my grandma custom-ordered to her exact specifications and was so happy to treat herself to a couple of years after my grandpa passed away because he never would have let her buy such a sporty, white car. I like that I ride to work in the same car I rode in on our countless trips through the Black Hills on a beeline to Nordstrom's shoe department on shopping excursions for my Christmas & birthday presents. My grandma always took me shopping for clothes and shoes for my gifts...then, cruelly, she would have me wrap them up myself, place them under her tree in the instance of Christmas, and not allow me to open them until Christmas Eve. Inevitably, I would talk her into letting me keep one thing as an early present, citing some major event that I'd just made up that I simply couldn't attend without those shoes/jeans/hat/whatever. She would shake her head and say, "Sweets! You're not going to have anything under that tree!" and I didn't care because the real gift was the time we'd spent shopping together. Being the only grandchild (for all practical purposes), I was a little spoiled, I'll admit. I knew it then and I know it now, but I don't think I took it for granted even as a kid. It was all magic then...the automatic wipers, the heated seats, the way I never asked for a single thing but somehow managed to get exactly what I wanted offered to me and lovingly stuffed into a plastic bag with its cash receipt and new-clothes scent. There wasn't a shopping trip where we didn't laugh until tears streamed down our's how we rolled.

Eventually my grandma couldn't drive anymore and her car was easier for my dad to get into than his truck, so he took over the car. He drove it like it was hot, often using his cane on the gas pedal, which terrified many a white-knuckled passenger and although he somehow hadn't wrecked a car in a couple of decades I suppose, I confess I am relieved that he is off the road now. My memories of The Car in my dad's possession are fewer & scarier than the aforementioned, but I do recall delicious Eagan's burgers and conversation by the lake once and a couple fun trips to Tacoma & Seattle for father-daughter dates. Ultimately, once my dad's season had passed and The Car was released from its restoration & rehabilitation period at Whitney's, she became mine.

She isn't as glamorous as she used to be. I rarely drive her over 65 and I certainly don't load up her back seat with the retail treasures she once enjoyed, but the driver's seat still heats up, the wipers still wipe without me telling them to, and the sunroof still opens (and remarkably hasn't leaked yet this year). I have had close to 20 cars since I started driving, and while most of them were cooler (the Aurora is a "sporty Oldsmobile" which is kind of like a pair of really "chic Wranglers"), this one is my favorite. I am very happy to have her back!