Our house is in mourning. My son and daughter have come to me separately, in tears. “I don’t want her to go. Why does she have to go?”
I explain the circle of life. I tell them nothing lasts forever. I console them with, “She’s had a good life.”
Ol’ blue is going away. They love Blue, even though she is old, past her prime, barely scooting out the driveway these days.
Ol’ blue is my husband’s pick up truck, a GMC Sierra S15, the first vehicle he ever bought, brand new back in 1982. When he got his second car, he gave Blue to his daddy and when his daddy died ten years ago, Blue came back to us.
“I don’t want that rust bucket death trap in my driveway,” is the sympathetic remark I likely made to my husband.
He was so happy to have her back. He scrubbed her down and shined her up, him and the kids happily tooling around town in her. I could hear they were home long before they pulled in the driveway, Blue’s ancient engine alerting every neighbor on our street.
Friends who borrowed her, returned the keys with stunned faces. “There’s no rearview mirror. I didn’t know if we were going to make it up that hill. The clutch…the clutch.” My husband would smile. His Blue could do no wrong. He understood her, knew how to coax what he needed out of her.
There was so much love there. It went far deeper than the faded blue paint pockmarked by rust and dents. It went all the way back to that 19 year old boy, buying his first vehicle, showing his parents he was going to be his own man. That boy became a husband and father who handed the keys to his daddy and said, “It’s yours.”
In profound grief, those keys came back.
Blue found new fans in our children, who lived for rides in her with daddy. Pushing 50 miles per hour, as cars three decades younger flew past them on Atlanta’s roads, they relished every ride. Yes, they loved being with their father, but they loved Blue because their daddy loved her.
That love is contagious when you’re a kid. It’s why you root for the Minnesota Vikings and the University of Louisville, because your daddy does. It’s why you eat plain Hershey bars, because your daddy does. It’s why you thought vienna sausages on saltines were a delectable duo, because your daddy did.
Ol’ Blue has been owned by two amazingly good men. Those two men loved each other with everything they had. And they loved this little pick-up with its ‘pray the rosary’ bumper sticker and floorboard that floods every time it rains.
Ol’ Blue is going to a farm (donated or sold for next to nothing).
Even I’ve come around on Her. The fact that my husband adores her in all her aged, faded, falling apart beauty is why I love him. He says he can’t wait until I have gray hair. I actually believe him.
There will be a final trip for ice cream and a teary good bye.
Then we’ll be in her non-rearview mirror.