Our Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was my first new car ever. Brand Spanking. I remember the way it smelled when I drove it off the lot, how I was really nervous getting it home. I kept it really clean back then. Before kids, before spilled milk and juice, before it started becoming a dumping ground. Before every nook and cranny was filled with white dog hair from our Dalmatian.
We took it on so many vacations. Cape Cod and Maine many times. Gettysburg many times. Back and forth to Gramma’s house. Here, there and everywhere. People know us by our car. There are two familiar bumper stickers. One that says 39.3 (for 2 AVON Walk For Breast Cancer walks I did) and our Sugarloaf Mountain sticker. I love being able to find it in a parking lot. For sure it will be the dirtiest car. But it’s mine. I am comfortable. I know it inside out.
We’ve had our problems with it for sure. A brand new engine needed to be built in 2003 and we vowed never to get another Jeep. But it’s been my pal. There are a lot of memories in it. Like the day we brought our son home from the hospital. I sat next to him in the back seat, which actually isn’t all that comfy — the sitting part after a baby, not the car. And then again when we brought our daughter home. I was back there with her too. Two infant carriers, then convertible seats, and now one’s in a booster and one sits like a big boy.
Whether I was driving, riding shotgun or snuggled in the middle seat in the back between the two kids, it was comfortable. Now I have to look at something new. Here’s why.
A beautiful MLK weekend at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine had come to an end. Two days of perfect skiing (the kids were in ski school and my husband and I were happy adults skiing alone.) Saying goodbye to the beautiful and picturesque mountain, skis on the roof, book on tape in the player, we meandered through the Carabassett Valley in our old faithful Jeep.
I need to mention that my husband is a GREAT driver. Because with a stalled out car, no power and snow on the ground, he maneuvered all 4 of us safely to the shoulder — now covered in 4 more inches on top of the already 2 feet of snow that had fallen the week before – and tried like the dickens to get us going again.
But this Jeep was having none if it. In fact, it died so completely that the flashers even stopped working. This was NOT good. A call into AAA Motor Club told us help would arrive soon and that police would be called as an added measure of safety. We sang songs, kept trying to start it, ate the remaining crackers and 1 candy bar and waited. It was cold. And snowy.
Finally AAA came and tried everything. Gas, nope. A little pull here. Nope. A tug there. Nope. Sorry folks, you need a tow truck. It’s on its way.
So we spent an hour on the side of the road, listening to it snow, watching and hoping no cars spun out and hit us and watching as plows threw more snow on our car. The kids were amazing little troopers. A little anxiety was to be had, but once we started playing a color guessing game and I guessed “Booger Green” the kids laughed and all was saved. (I know, but sometimes you just need to call out the big guns.)
It’s a sensor and maybe the Jeep can be saved by throwing down some serious cash. But the mechanic can’t promise that it won’t happen again. And I don’t want to be driving it when it does. So even though I know in my heart it’s time for a new car, it’s still hard to say goodbye to that old friend.
I know. I will have that new car smell again and make some new memories with a new car. I am certain of that. But still it feels like we are closing a chapter. Perhaps it’s the car or perhaps it’s the feeling that we are getting old and my kids are growing up.