Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

May 15, 2019

They Got Us To Here

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 12:21 pm

From those of us who grew up in the 70s and before, there is a deep, deep well of fond and funny stories of the cars we drove when we were young.  Before the sleek and long-lasting materials of today, most of us cut our teeth driving vehicles that generated stories we never tire of telling.

Everything rusted.   For those of us who suffered northern winters, we were usually pulling out the Bondo in Spring to try and patch the rusting ridges around wheel wells and fenders.  Heavy muffler exhaust pipes rusted and the holes would make our cars too loud to sneak home after curfew.

One of the most exciting aspects of owning a car those decades ago was the installing of a car stereo.  Back then cars arrived with factory-installed AM radios and, as kids, we couldn’t wait to buy that awesome 8-track and, later, cassette-playing stereo.  It was a great badge of honor to proudly wear for those of us who became savvy enough to install our own stereo.

My one brother had a car from the 70s whose color was a pale peach.  We called her the Peach Bomb and it took two people to start her (one to stick a pencil in the choke).  My other brother drove a late-sixties rag-top, Electra 225, that poured rain onto the passenger whenever he turned a corner.

One of my earliest cars was gifted to me when it was already 17 years old but had only 11 thousand miles on her.  Because she was barely driven all those years, the bottom had all but rusted away and, on the passenger’s side, all that stood between my passenger and the pavement was a floor mat.  When I’d drive in the winter with someone in the passenger’s seat, the snow and ice would fling up and fly up and spray them in the face.   It would swirl in the car like it was a blizzard-inside.  LOL.

One of my most-favorite car stories is of a handsome gentleman car that I drove for 8 years.  I took such great care of that car.  His name was Hank.  But, every time I would take him in to get an oil change, the mechanic would ask me why I didn’t take better care of my car.  I couldn’t understand that.  I was diligent and invested in all his upkeep and care.  I kept him clean and up-to-date on all his engine needs and maintenance schedules.

When I finally turned him in, the man at the car dealership told me that, unbeknownst to me, Hank had been totaled long before I ever met him.  Ten years before, Hank had been stolen, driven across the nation and totaled.  He was returned to the owners and, somehow, he was rebuilt and re-painted and sold under false pretense.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that…those cars got us here.  Got us through.  Protected us.  Escorted us to our favorite people, favorite events, jobs and life journeys.

They got us here.

The people of my generation who tell and retell their early car stories do so with a fondness and an appreciation.  Those cars, with all their funny stories and quirky traits and dear names were our companions during some of our most treasured life adventures.

And that’s where we come in.

Let’s promise ourselves that, when we are turned in for the last time, that those around us are amazed that we once had been totaled.  Let’s help get our favorite people to fabulous places.  Let’s be dear parts of their life stories, fondly told and re-told in the future.

All of us, after lingering injuries, will have our issues.  Sure.  We might need a pencil jammed in the choke to help us get started in the morning.  There might be parts of us that need a little Bondo and we may have some loose nuts or screws or rusted pipes that make our whole sashaying a little clumpy, a little loud, a little sputtering…

But let’s get ’em there.  All our people.  All our pets.  All our everything that matters.  Let’s get ’em there.   Let’s be willing.  Let’s be undaunted.  Let’s add what we can to sweeten the music we hear.

Let’s get ’em there.

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