Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Mazda

Yesterday, I said good bye to a faithful friend. She came into our lives back in 1994 when my Mom brought her home for the first time – a soft gray, 4-door, 88 Mazda. She was just a young thing back then and unassuming to look at, but in typical fashion, my Mom brought out the best in her. Soon this plain old Mazda had a personality that shone as bright as the driver’s side visor that held a myriad of holy medals. She boasted her new-found identity on her back bumper: “I stop for garage sales” and “I (heart) the Jersey Shore”, along with a red ribbon that flew from the antenna so that Mom could find her, no matter the size of the shopping mall parking lot. As reliable as she was on the road, the car was prepared for anything with a ready-made emergency kit of kitty litter, first aid supplies, jumper cables, collapsible boxes to haul groceries and assorted cargo, snow boots and a snow scraper for in climate weather, and a can of WD-40 because you never know when you’ll need it.

To my family, the car was simply “the Mazda”, but its personality was anything but plain. It seemed to take on the persona of its owner, energetic and ready to go at a moment’s notice. The roar of the muffler announced its arrival from a block away. I used to smile at the familiar sound as it came down my street, slowed for a U-turn at the end, and ground to a quick hault in front of the house. I would listen for the sound of the emergency break being whipped into place like a zipper being smartly fastened. The kids would call out, “Grandma’s here!” and up the front steps Mom would come, pocketbook in hand, keys jingling and usually a grocery bag full of treats to have with our tea.

When Mom passed away, my brother took “the Mazda” under his wing and it performed for him and his family like a thoroughbred. It was always the car that kept running and was available to those of us who needed another set of wheels when our classier vehicles were in the shop for repairs. When my brother offered to sell it to me for my son to drive, I knew I was inheriting a rare jewel. The car’s finish was a little duller by now, perhaps more gray, and as old things will do it tended to leak fluids every now and then. She was banished to being parked on the street so as not to dirty the driveway.

Then one night, about a month ago, through no fault of her own, the Mazda made her final run. We credit all those holy medals that she bore with protecting my son, when he was broadsided at a traffic crossing. He and the Mazda were able to limp home, and when we saw the damage we knew that her days were over. I felt so disloyal bringing another, shinier model of Mazda home one day, and with a heavy heart called a towing company to come and haul the old girl away. By this time she couldn’t even raise her head, the battery having died in the weeks that she sat there. A kind man, large and tall with soft blue eyes, came with his tow truck. He wheeled her onto the tow ramp as though she were a little toy. I choked back a tear as they drove away, knowing that her legacy was not over, as she would become an organ donor for other little Mazdas. To the shiny new car sitting in the driveway, appearing so smug, I gave a nod of my head and said, “Just hope that you turn out to be half the car that she was.”




Comment from Matt. . . .
The trunk leaked whenever it rained. That was the musty smell you all thought was old floor mats. During April showers you could start your summer tomatoes in the dirt next to the spare tire. It left an oil stain every where it went, like an old dog marking its territory. I can still see the spot on the side of the house where I used to park it --  it put the Exxon Valdez to shame. I could tell it was down a quart when the engine started to sound like my Maytag washer. 
I once hooked up a power converter to its small running engine and ran extension cords to light fixtures in a warehouse allowing my crew to do a sort during a power outage. I could change the oil and air filter in 15 minutes, while sipping a beer. I pulled my neighbor's BMW out of a snow drift with it, then dragged them down the street till they could go on their own. The Maz was cabled up...yep, cables for the snow..never got stuck. It got 40 miles to the gallon and started every time until the day I handed the keys off...I could go on and on. We all have a million stories about our cars. 
But the best thing about the Mazda was that I could go through my entire day. . . good, bad, busy, completely absorbed in job, kids, errands. . .then, I would climb into the Mazda and suddenly...think of my mom and a great feeling would come over me.

7 comments:

Becky said...

From a family that drives their cars ~ all of them ~ until they literally go belly up: We send our condolences. A faithful car is a gift indeed.

We had to replace 2 of them in one summer. One with 230,000 miles (A Honda) and one with 208,000 miles (a Volvo). There are pages in our scrapbook devoted to their final run at the end of a tow truck.

Anonymous said...

Hello Karen

This is a test.

Uncle Dick

Anonymous said...

Hello Karen again, I hope it goes through.

I like the car saga, I think you can weave this into a nice short story.

Lets get to work.

Uncle Dick

Becky said...

And you have an Abby?! That is too funny. Abby was supposed to be a daugher's name, but we never had one. Oh, well. Have a great day.

Karen said...

Hi Karen!
So nice to meet you! I cannot believe that this post almost made me cry! You have a talent, indeed. I had a 67 toyota corolla I felt the same way about! :0D
You have a beautiful blog and I will be back!
Blessings,
Karen (the other one) you know, 'cause there's only two of us. ;-}

DariDonovan said...

OMG, your farewell has me in tears. In 2005, I too said goodbye to my 4-door 1988 Mazda 626. Oh how I bawled! I traded "her" for a brand new car and honestly I think it was the hardest thing I ever did. Silly me, I even laid a rose on the front seat as we signed the final "goodbye" papers. I loved that car!

Thanks for coming by and do check out Clean Home Journal and get on their mailing list. I have gotten some amazing freebies from their newsletter links.

Anonymous said...

The trunk leaked whenever it rained, that was the musty smell you all thought was old floor mats, during April showers you could start your summer tomatos in the dirt next to the spare tire, it left a oil stain every where it went, like a old dog marking its territory, I can still see the spot on the side of the house where I used to park it, it puts the Exon Valdez to shame, I could tell it was down a quart when the engine started to sound like my Maytag washer.
I once hooked up a power converter to its small running engine and ran extention cords to light fixtures in a warehouse allowing my crew to do a sort during a powere outage. I could change the oil and air filter in 15 minutes, while sipping a beer. I pulled my neighbors BMW out of a snow drift with it, then dragged them down the street till they could go on their own...the Maz was cabled up...yep, cables for the snow..never got stuck, it got 40 miles to the gallon and started every time until the day I handed the keys off...I could on and on. We all have a million stories about our cars.
But the best thing about the mazda was I could go through my entire day, good, bad, busy, completely absorbed in job, kids, errands...then, I would climb into the Mazda and suddenly...think of my mom and a great feeling would come over me.