Life goes on whether our wishes come true or not

Life goes on whether our wishes come true or not

In my 65th year of writing for newspapers, I have discovered that in my columns I have changed a little from the old objectivity I was trained with to sagas. This week’s tale is cars. My recent wish that my 28-year-old Astro Van would outlast me was squashed almost immediately when some mean star took the wish and slammed me with it at 11 p.m.

That was when my beloved car, resting in the garage, began tooting its own horn. Take that back, not tooting, blaring loudly. Dressed for bed, I ventured out to try to relieve it of its pain, but to no avail.

I couldn’t get the hood open. Nothing I tried worked. Finally, at 11:30 — and I am so embarrassed to reveal this — I got dressed and called the friendly neighborhood police and asked for their help. The gentleman who came was so kind. As I apologized over and over again for calling for such a stupid reason, he disconnected the battery, and we all settled down to the quiet of the night.

The next morning I called AAA with foolish hopes they might solve the problem — no such luck. However, we did find the horn fuse and remove it so I could drive it to someone with higher powers without honking all the way.

Higher powers told me I needed a new part that had to be ordered. Of course, it was the weekend. I don’t know if they removed the offending part or if the van just rebelled on its own because I took the horn away, but by the time I got home, I no longer had headlights, dash lights, left directional or brake lights.

Higher power said, “Well, of course. Those things will be intermittent until we get the part. Three days later when I called, they said the van was too old; they wouldn’t be able to find the part after all. I am forced into a dilemma: I must find a different car.

I do not want a different car. My history of cars is not a wise one. The first I ever bought was a navy blue, standard shift bug (I had to learn to shift) that left me stranded in the middle of a freeway by dropping its main brake cylinder. It was replaced by the cutest MG Midget, also blue.

That car was a toy. It was so small my students could pick it up and turn it sideways in my parking space so I couldn’t get out. Being another “foreign” car, it longed for attention in expensive fixing garages where parts took weeks to arrive.

I decided to go American with a cherry red Mustang convertible — eight cylinders and a temperamental carburetor. In California you have to have your car “smogged” every year before you can register it. That beauty simply would not smog. Every year we would have to change something to the tune of a couple hundred dollars in the carburetor until after registration and then change it back so it was driveable. That’s when I bought the utilitarian, common, only brand new car I’ve ever bought, Astro Van. It has been a true dream.

Aside from a few long trips to Southern California and my trek across country to where I live now, it hasn’t been overused. I can get anywhere I need to be in five minutes. Consequently, the van has only 90,000 miles on it. It has been so trouble-free until recently that I thought it would last forever.

Some part of me is short. I don’t know if it is from the waist up or down, but it is hard for me to see over steering wheels, even with the seat up as high as it will go. I felt like queen of the road in that van because it was so high I could see everything. My kind and generous DIL2B has loaned me her beautiful Ohio car until I find a new one. It has bells and whistles that confound me. Everything is push button and foreign, and I have to sit on a pillow to see the front of the car. I am adjusting and very grateful for the loan.

So now I have given in and am looking. I know I need the highest SUV I can find so I can haul animals, garden supplies and theater props and see the front of the car so I can judge distance.

As my spatial perception is somewhat impaired, that is essential. Because I am going to lease instead of buy, the dealer needs to be local. I hope some of the people who have approached me in the past to ask if I wanted to sell the van see this and still would like to buy it.

I would want it to go to a good home where someone who knows what they are doing can fix it and love it like I do. I can hardly bear the thought of this change, but life goes on, whether your wishes come true or not.

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