The Basement Files

Farewell old friend


Goodbye, dear sweet friend, we hardly knew you.

Over the last 13 years you’ve been with me in good times and bad. And while you generally caused most of the “bad” times because you decided to get finicky in your later years, I’ll still miss you, you forest-green beauty.

Yes, my car, my loyal friend, has passed on to automobile heaven, better known as The junk yard. It ran its last mile more than a year ago, and has been sitting idle ever since. And it’s not because I’m one of those hoarders you see on TV. I could never get that bad, and besides, they all have cats, and I’m a dog person. Because dog’s rule and cat’s drool. Unless you get a bulldog, then they both drool, but that’s another column. I just couldn’t bring myself to junk it right away.

They say you always remember your first car. I know I will. It was a pleasant shade of green — my favorite color — and ran like a dream for the first 150,000 miles. Sure, it was the dream of a high-school goof-ball, but a good dream nonetheless.

I kept it with me throughout my college career, even though over most of the time it sat safely in a parking lot while I sat safely in a bar. What? I was a college student. You should be thankful I was smart enough to leave the car at home or the dorm. Besides, you find a college student who claims to have never gone to a bar, and I’ll find you a fibber.

Not all the times were all fun and games. There were the days when I would go on a swearing tirade because you decided to die on the road on the way to work. Or, on those bitterly cold mornings (see: normal Minnesota winter,) you’d put up more of a fuss than I did on days when I didn’t want to go to school. Which, as any educator who was unfortunate enough to have me can tell you, was pretty much every day.

But alas, those days are done. My car, my first car, after a year of sitting in my driveway, is gone forever.

A couple of factors led to my supposed procrastination. The first was I have another car I can use to get to and from my day job, which I do have, thank you very much. And by “I” I mean “my parents,” and by “have” I mean “just take.” It’s a great system, especially when they buy gas, it saves me a ton of money, especially now since it’s eking up towards $4-a-gallon. This provided me enough time to put set some cash to buy my own vehicle. Not just “any” vehicle, but “my” vehicle. I’m going to get something I’ll be happy with.

I say “happy with” because I cannot afford a red, 1983 Lamborghini Countach with rear spoiler. I’ve accepted that. But I’m not going to buy a rust bucket either, even if they do have their charm. Although that might just be the feeling you get because you are breathing the exhaust that’s leaking in.

Cash, availability and fond memories aside, there is one “real” reason why the rust bucket sat in my driveway all winter. That’s because it’s outside, buried in a pile of ice and snow. I couldn’t even get to it until recently, and I had to chisel the thing out like an old-school coal miner. Minnesota winters, you gotta love ‘em!

Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.