Friends, we gather together today to bid a fond adieu to the faithful, well-worn and much loved purple Jeep. He's still limping along but the twilight is reaching ever closer to dark blues and smudged greys of nightfall. This is most bittersweet as 2011 has been the year of loss: baby, grandmother, another faithful car and now my first truly adult purchase.
Way back in 1999 I was dating a guy who had a Jeep. And it was so cool that I really, desperately wanted one of my own. I learned to drive stick as he scoffed at anyone who had an automatic Wrangler, an attitude I adopted as really, why bother? I saved up $2500 from my first job after graduation, a feat indeed what with paying rent, utilities, food, insurance and the other various and sundry details of life on $12/hour. My dragged my best friend to showrooms all over Cockeysville looking at Wranglers and one heady, hot May Saturday, gathered my title for the Cutlass Calais and took the plunge on a new Jeep Wrangler.
It was bare boned - nothing fancy as it is a convertible and I am not a complete idiot. But still when the salesperson asked if I would be putting down half, I truly laughed in his face. I was proud of my $2500 down payment and had a car to trade - for which they offered my exactly $200 or $50 per tire. Having not developed any business savvy, I naively agreed to the full asking price and took possession with a $450 monthly payment at 12% interest. Not my finest hour looking back. But I had my first new car! And it was a purple Jeep!
My best friend and I had a blast that summer, driving everywhere in it when in stroke of utmost brilliance, I had enrolled in graduate school. In College Park. Which is a good 50 minutes away with decent traffic. I also had accepted a first shift position as I was unaware that the program I would be attending was a day time program and in the same move, lost my shift differential for moving off of second. I think we can comfortably declare that as my year of Very Poor Decisions.
Anyway, he was mine. And we made the thrice weekly round trip to College Park for 3 years, survived a spin out on an icy road and an up close and personal encounter with a deer the night of Dylan and mine's first anniversary. Well over 130,000 miles we've covered together, from North Carolina to New Jersey, Penn State to Ocean City. It's been a good ride and will be hard to say good bye the final time as I had harbored dreams of keeping him until Noelle and Noah are ready to drive. But in the end it's time; the gauge cluster doesn't always work, the front suspension is forever loose making highway driving and pot holes exercises in bladder control; one window has been repaired with tape and there are holes in the roof making me cringe with every passing rain shower. Similar to worrying about an elderly relative behind the wheel of their car, so I worry about whether he'll make it work another day; a worry compounded by the presence of the joys of my existence in the vehicle with me every day.
I truly wish there was a home or a pasture for past their prime vehicles to go to; the most I can hope for is that I can donate him to a good charity where he'll help someone else out one last time. So farewell my beloved purple Jeep, thanks for the past 12 years. It's been an absolute blast and I've loved every minute of it.