Most of Nick's students drive to school in some pretty nice cars. It seems that once a student turns 16, their wealthy parents decide it is time to buy them their own brand new vehicle. Good for them and hopefully they are thankful.
However, even when we are super rich someday (you know, with our education and ministry degrees), I refuse to buy my kids a brand new car. I might help them out with their purchase of a used one, but I believe there is value in earning that first car on one's own.
As our super cool mini-van has been paid off for awhile and while Nick has just inherited his grandpa's cadillac, it got me to thinking about some of the interesting cars we have owned.
Let us start with my first car-a chevy station wagon. Not the big family ones, but the little cute ones.
Yes, they can be cute.
I bought it at a used car lot and my parents helped me out. I worked in the camp kitchen all summer to earn that car. It got me to work and back and eventually spent some time at college. Many memories were had in the wagon and it survived a lot. I can still picture flying over the train tracks by camp, driving through a huge thunderstorm and pulling over because the wipers were not good enough, and my personal favorite-running out of wiper fluid while driving over freshly salted roads. That required stopping every few miles to throw snow on the window so that I could see.
With laughter the entire time.
Eventually my little station wagon saw its last day when I was driving home and the head gasket blew. That was fun. Nothing like driving and suddenly having steam fly up in your face, blinding you from the road.
Nick's first car was just as awesome. It was a chevy as well and was just as classy. The highlight of this car was a wire that poked up through the front passenger's seat. Nick had carefully placed some duct tape over it, but every so often, it would break through, thus ripping the pants of the lucky passenger.
The first time that Nick and I went out on a date, my favorite khakis fell victim to the wire. (That was also the night where he dropped pizza on my lap-twice. And I still kept dating him.) At one point, Nick kept a poll on his blog of who ruined their pants on his seat-I think the number was around ten.
My second car was free. It was a subaru wagon (again with the station wagon). It ran fine, but eventually found its end. Perhaps it was because I was a youth leader at the time and kids kept piling in and out of it and abused it.
Nick had a mercury topaz for awhile, which led to the jeep cherokee. I think that was his favorite vehicle. He had bought it from a friend and it served our family well for awhile. Abby came home from the hospital in that jeep. It did have one little quirk, though.
The hood liked to randomly pop up. You know, so that you would be driving down the road and all of the sudden your only view is the hood. It was super safe and fun.
My favorite car was my chevy cavalier. A little two-door, fun car, that was actually my first car that involved a car payment. The interior lasted as long as it could, but again, I was a youth leader with kids crawling in and out of it. I think the plastic around the seatbelt was the first to go-tall senior high boys should not be allowed to crawl into the back of a two-door car.
Eventually the cavalier became Nick's car that he ran untill its death. It was kind of sad to see my cute, girly car become the boy car full of wrappers, golf clubs and baseball gloves.
Once we traded in the jeep for the van, that has been our family car. Six and a half years later and it's still plugging away. True, we have had to fix a few things that started breaking the month it was paid off, but it is still here and faithful to our family.
Until this past week, Nick has been driving a plymouth neon. It served him well as a go to and from work car, but eventually the noises were getting too loud and the shaking was getting too strong. Thankfully, Nick was blessed with his grandpa's cadillac and it just might be the nicest car he has ever owned.
What am I saying, "might?" Look at the list above and clearly the caddy is the best. Nick actually has air-conditioning and a smooth ride-that has never happened before. And-our entire family can fit in it!
Still, even though we are blessed with good cars right now, I still love the memories of the old ones. We would not have such memories if we were given brand new cars that lack character.
Yes, I am calling the "non-air-conditioned, roof flying up, tires falling off, pants ripping" cars full of character.