|This is not actually my car, but it is wonderfully dignified photo of a Beretta.|
I thought I would be writing this kind of memorial blog post in 2007. On one of those countless trips from Denver to eastern Nebraska, my car was totaled in a hit-and-run in Lincoln that fortunately I was out of my car during but unfortunately was not covered by my insurance. At all. They wouldn't even send anyone out for any kind of estimate. After a few weeks, my dad (who is the nicest dad in the world, by the way) and his mechanic friend resurrected it. Built from some parts of a Pontiac Grand Am and a new door from a '97 Beretta (causing many mechanics to be confused when I'd bring it in after this since the door said it was a '97 though I told them it was a '96), the car had a second life and gave me four and a half more years of loyalty.
I realize it's kind of ridiculous to be so attached to a car. And, to be totally honest, a not very attractive car at that (please don't tell the Beretta I said that). But me and this car were buds. It didn't mind that I put ridiculous things like a Vanilla Ice pin in the visor to keep the strap from falling down or a worn-down gold chain of dice around the emergency brake because my sister had it in her old car. In return, I put up with its quirks like a super heavy door I'd usually have to push open with my leg and the seat cover that never stayed up on the driver's side meaning my scarf or coat would get stuck on the velcro.
I knew how to get it to work. I knew what button to push when the cassette player kept trying to turn over to the other side of the cassette tape adapter thereby stopping the music from my iPod. I knew that even though the "check engine light" remained on for years the engine didn't actually need checked (I figured this was my car's version of saying "Hi. How's it going?") and I knew that my stuffed Alf doll found at Goodwill would always be in his home in the trunk (except, of course, for that one time when my mom's friend kidnapped him).
My car even supported important causes with me by wearing rubber band bracelets on its gear shift. First, an orange one for juvenile diabetes when my cousin was diagnosed; then pink for breast cancer was added for my aunt, grandma, family friend and co-workers; then a white clear one I got at a workshop that supported youth literacy; and finally a light blue one I got at a library conference supporting libraries.
And so after 10 1/2 years, approximately 111,000 miles and trips through 15 states and 1 Canadian province, the Beretta is leaving me. Where it will go to we haven't yet determined but the search for a new car has begun. A new car that wasn't with me when I moved into the dorm rooms, wasn't with me when I moved to a new state, wasn't with me when I moved back to Nebraska, started grad school, got engaged and married. A new car that won't even know what the '90s were. I'm nervous. How can I trust something that doesn't even know about when Bob Dole ran for president?
Here's a look back and some of the good trips I had with that car:
Nebraska - Countless trips between West Point, Fremont, Lincoln and Omaha as well as countless trips driving across I-80 to get home from Denver. Also, one pretty awesome Nebraska attractions road trip my college friend John and I took for the Daily Nebraskan.
Missouri - Countless trips to see visit my sister in Kansas City when she lived here.
Winnipeg, Manitoba - My sister and I took a "sister's vacation" up to Canada the summer after my first year of college. Driving through South Dakota and North Dakota before we spent some time hanging out with people from the hostel and me drinking in a bar for the first time (since I was legal there at that point). This is the farthest north the car had gone.
Texas - Going through Kansas and Oklahoma before arriving in Austin with said college friend John for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. This is the farthest south the car had gone.
North Carolina - A trip I took before my senior year of college. I lived in NC for a month apartment-sitting a friend of a friend's place because I wanted to get away from Nebraska for a little while. It was a great trip that also had me going through Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. My parents joined me and we drove out to the Outer Banks. If my car could talk it was say it was the most beautiful and frightening place we had been. We drove through a terrible rainstorm on the way back home that resulted in a flat tire and locking the keys in the car. Luckily, a very nice man helped us out until AAA came. This is the farthest east the car had gone.
Colorado - I packed this car to the brim with my belongings as I headed West to Denver after graduating from college to start a job in a new state for some new adventures in my life. I took the car up to the mountains a few times (Georgetown, Breckenridge, Winter Park). This is the farthest west the car had gone. My regret is that I did not take it farther that way.
Minnesota/Wisconsin - In 2009, I took the car for a road trip to visit my friends in St. Paul and Green Bay for my Spring Break. A few months later, I took it back up to Minnesota to visit that same friend after she gave birth to twins. My dad made me a killer tape mix for the ride (that included "Eres Tu" as heard in "Tommy Boy" which had me laughing for hours). Little did I know that would be the last big road trip it would take.
So long, Beretta. Thanks for a decade of great memories. You've left my next car big tires(?) to fill!