As I was driving home from church this morning, my thoughts turned to the car which I was driving. It’s my wife’s car actually, but I always drive it when both of us go anywhere in it. For the past 34 years, I’ve been the designated family chauffeur; self-appointed actually. The car that I was driving this morning is getting to be a little long in the tooth, as the saying goes. It has accumulated somewhere over 208,000 miles, but it remains in immaculate physical and mechanical condition.
It’s a 1999 Toyota Avalon. I wish Detroit built cars like the good folks over at Toyota, even like they did way back in 1999. This thing is a veritable Energizer Bunny. It just keeps going and going!
My wife and I have always been very conscientious about having regular routine maintenance done on all of our automobiles. I don’t know if it’s the result of that level of preventive maintenance diligence or just dumb blind luck; but whatever the reason, we’ve never had to have any major repairs made to this particular car in all of the 14 years that we’ve been driving it.
I know that our automotive bliss could all come to an abrupt end tomorrow, but at the moment, the Avalon shows every sign of being able to continue to provide reliable, trouble-free transportation for another 100,000 miles or more.
It was at that moment in my thinking that I suddenly thought to myself, “Oh wow! I’m about to turn into Miss McGillicuddy!”
When I was about eight years old, Miss McGillicuddy lived down the street. She was a very pleasant lady. I suppose that she was somewhere in her 70s, but at my young age I couldn’t be relied on to tell the difference between an 80 year-old and someone who was closer to 60. The point remains that as far as I was concerned, Miss McGillicuddy was ancient; very nice, but ancient.
Miss McGillicuddy also drove a DeSoto, circa 1940. The car always looked as if she had just driven it out of the showroom. I doubt seriously if anyone had ever sat in the back seat; maybe not even the passenger seat. Miss McGillicuddy never gave the appearance of being much of a social animal. The tires on her DeSoto were probably still inflated with original, unadulterated 1940 air!
I remember seeing Miss McGillicuddy cruising through our neighborhood on summer afternoons at a blinding 10 to 15 miles per hour. If we were in a rambunctious mood, we could easily keep up with her on our bikes. As far as I know, she only drove her DeSoto on weekly trips to the A&P and to church and back on Sunday mornings. The rest of the time, it sat immobile in her carport.
Now I recognize that, by comparison, our Avalon is only 14 years old, but the fact remains that our objective is to be driving this car for many years to come. You don’t just turn a good automobile like that out to pasture; or out to the local CarMax.
As such, I find myself wondering if there’s some young whippersnapper who, when observing me driving the Avalon out of the neighborhood, thinks that he could keep up with me on his bicycle; even the one with 12 gears.
I’ve got to tell you, he’d be in for a big surprise. In some ways, I’ll never be Miss McGillicuddy!
Images from Wikipedia and OldCarBrochures.org