When Clint Eastwood released a movie called Gran Torino, it brought back haunting memories. Not of Clint Eastwood, or of the socio-economic and racial prejudice that serves as a theme for the movie (I haven’t seen the movie yet) but of the actual car. It was the first car I remember my mother bringing home. My sister and I were at my grandmothers house when my mom drove up in the early 70’s model Ford. My sister and I were so excited we jumped up and down on the back seat (which was twice the size of a trampoline. That would be the last day I was ever excited about that car. Growing into myself, becoming more self aware, and comparing our car to the other cars parents drove quickly revealed my mother liked driving boats. Enormous, gas guzzling, multi-ton barges on wheels. And finally, after countless trips to the mechanic in which my mother spent the equivalent of monthly payments on a Mercedes, she let the car go and picked up another. Sadly, though, it was no improvement. She came home with something that looked like whatever this is:
Now this was our family car during my jr. high years and high school years. Other families were driving the new and incredibly hip Chrysler mini-vans, but we were driving a tug boat. The car, of course, did not hold up. Aforementioned Mercedes payments were made to our local mechanic, who, while he could fix the engine, could do nothing about the thirty gallons of water sloshing around in the trunk. Every time we turned a corner you could hear the ocean.
Now I don’t mean to be critical. We never had any money. We couldn’t afford a nice car (though she could have made payments on a Mercedes, I am sure) Mom was not one to incur debt, a noble characteristic I gladly inherited.
After the “car o waves” was retired, and yet another monstrous contraption was bought, fixed a thousand times, and hauled to the junk yard, it was time to buy another. By this time I was old enough to suggest a Honda or a Toyota. But Mom insisted she drive an American car because that’s what Jesus would do. And she ended up with something that looked like whatever this is:
Now this was a perfectly fine car, and Mom drove it into the ground. She had everything fixed twice over by mechanics who “went to church” and somehow squeezed 200,000 miles out of it (and that she did at under 50 knots) until last week when her mechanic called and said he could fix it, but heavens, Mary, isn’t it time to just let it go?
And so Mom called a couple days ago saying she was looking for a car. I told her about Subaru’s, how they get good gas mileage and are considered one of the better cars on the road, and hoped she would also consider a Honda or a Toyota, but Mom came back with an eye on a Chrysler Pacifica she’d found for sale from Enterprise Rental Car. I laid down on the floor and tried to breathe normally. And I said to myself, you know, it’s not a bad looking car. It’s enormous, and God knows a single woman in her sixties needs all that space in case she has to haul uncut lumber and protect it from the weather. But from a rental car place? A car with not one owner, but four-hundred temporary owners? But I resolved that if it makes her happy, why not. Mom, I think you should get that car, I said. The price is right, and if it checks out with your mechanic, go for it.
The mechanic (and I’m starting to love this guy. I bet he drives a Honda.) told her it wasn’t a good idea. And so my mom went looking again.
And that’s what brings me to you. My mother is a regular reader of this blog. She reads the comments (one of the reasons I often delete the “I hate you and your stupid book and think you are the anti-christ cause you won’t kneel before John Calvin” comments) and loves them (not those, cause those get deleted, but the others, even the critical ones) and has come to believe people who comment on this site are of the most intelligent, thoughtful and God-fearing people on the planet. That’s why I am asking you to step in on our slight dilemma.
My mother must be stopped.
This morning, she e-mailed me and said she was considering buying this:
I won’t show you the front of it. The front of it is worse. It actually has a fish-shaped grill, like a water vessel. It’s a Buick, which is a car but also a sound you make when you puke. And it’s huge. It get’s 3 miles per gallon, but can also run on endangered seal eggs, in which case it gets 5 miles per thousand eggs.
It’s time for an intervention.
So, it’s an open forum. What do you think my mother should buy? What’s been your favorite car?
I know, I know, it’s her decision. And ultimately I know my mother will purchase an enormous, American car, one that Jesus would be able to fit all the disciples in for that quick trip to Ephesus, but it’s worth a shot, isn’t it? Perhaps I am meddling. Perhaps I should lay back down on the floor and breathe. But I can’t. I don’t mean I can’t lay down on the floor, I mean I can’t breathe.
COMMENTS OF NOTE:
Well, didn’t realize you guys would chime in so sportily! How cool. Mom is getting a kick out of this. I love Mary Graham’s comment (Women of Faith speaker and all around hero (I used to think Ravi Zacharias was the best speaker I’d ever heard, then I thought it was Rob Bell, then I sat in on a Women of Faith seminar and, no kidding, every lady who spoke went straight to the top of the list. Those women are hilarious.)) and also these two. The first is hilarious because she works with my mom, and the second is hilarious because it’s hilarious. I think I’ll ask mom to narrow down her final choices and we can all chime in. I’m pulling for the Subaru, but I have a feeling she will want something larger. We will see. Here are those two comments repeated, thanks Melanie and Lydia:
I work with your mom and I so wanted to say something. It is an understatement to say I was concerned when she mentioned she was buying a car from a rental car business.
This is all so sudden; I understand that she has been left stranded on the side of the road a bit more than usual lately. Yesterday she just walked in and announced she had purchased a mini van she called it a wagon but I reminded her it is a mini van. I asked her who would be riding with her, I though maybe she was starting up a carpool, yet none of our 35 employees’ live in Pearland, and I felt sure there was a plan I was unaware of.
I did not want to pry in her business. At work I can get away with that because I am the business manager. That really means nothing other than I am the one person most likely to have everyone in the building or anyone that call’s in, ask me a question.
Now that you have opened this marvelous platform I want you know that I am on board. I feel your mom should live dangerously and shop around for an energy smart car. Trying something new can be good.
I have suggested that she walk away from her commitment with Enterprise. She has expressed that she will loose her $200.00. I have explained that that is a drop in bucket to what she could loose repeating past mistakes.
Renting a can until a decision is made would be a start so she would not feel pressured, yet still have a way to work. I think she should consider purchasing a Toyota or a Honda. They are made in the USA now, I think, that is close enough.
I love your mom. She is a great lady. We need to save her!!!!!
Let me gently say that there is nothing “sporty” about a Buick. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I should know, I drive one and I hate it. It’s a 1990 Buick Century I’ve affectionately named Stella. The windows don’t go down and I can’t open the driver’s side door from the inside so if I ever find myself careening into a river, I’m doomed. And the Pakistani boy who works at the gas station in town thinks we are dating because I am there to fill up so often.
Please. I admonish you as if you were my own mother, buy a Honda. You will thank me, your son will thank me, your mechanic will thank me. Jesus won’t mind, I promise. He loves those crazy Japanese kids. And they make them in Ohio so they are employing American factory workers. True story.
Thank you for listening, mom. You seem like a lovely lady and I have a huge crush on your son. Have a nice day.