Driving and Biking in the Big City

At the crossroads with Vinny

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The beloved and loyal Vinny

The beloved and loyal Vinny

Dear Vinny:

We are at a crossroads this month. I think about it most days but can’t bring myself to do anything about it.  It is time for your annual inspection, and I don’t know that you will get another year on the road without some costly repairs. Last year, when Dan the Car Repair Man called to say you passed, he was almost as ecstatic as me. I cried; Dan laughed.

“Looks like you’ve got another year, Ms. Hensley,” he said, chuckling deeply in his throat, and he went on chuckling while I laughed and cried and punched the air all around me. This from a hearty manly man who has been my mechanic long enough to recognize my voice at the first syllable.  Of course, we do bring him cigars and cookies at Christmas — appealing to all ranges of car shop interests.

Now, as you, my dear Vinny, near 175,000 miles and more than 10 years as my Road Warrior, I am severely attached to your company. I know you have almost always had that disgusting egg baked into places on your hood where only I can see it. Sure, the lining in your ceiling is falling in a bit. You have that crinkle in your left back bumper. I know I can only have heat on high and maybe no air conditioning at all come summer. But I love you, man.

You have been my companion through thick and thin; flood and drought; traffic and straightaway. I don’t know how I will ever maneuver Houston without you. You got me home in four feet, five feet of flood when lesser drivers and vehicles were stranded in the intersection. The time the railroad arm came down on us and we dragged it through the streets, undeterred. The medians we’ve straddled when we needed to make a quick turnaround. The curbs we’ve taken when we drifted a bit to the right, a little to the left.

We’ve survived four rear-enders together, driving away every time while lesser cars like Lexus and Mercedes had to be towed, including one who was driven by a heart surgeon (Gotta love a wreck in the medical center for the quality of crashers and crashees.) And remember that time I came into the garage too quickly and crumpled your front end. Or the time I drove away with the gas nozzle still in your tank – once, twice, perhaps three or four times.

Remember when we cross-countried to Lubbuck to see Laura while she was still at Texas Tech? How many times did we go West together like the cowboys we are?  And the wonderful pieces of concrete art we would find and haul home in your spacious “way back.” Oro-cito – the once golden Griffin, now verde, like his brother, Verdecito. The horned toad, the second one. The snail we named for Paul McCartney (not quite a walrus) but who later lost an antenna and now hides in the back of the beyond. The skinny tall hound that reminds me still of my beloved German short-haired Andy who has been gone for too long while you remain with me.

HoPatsy, Paul and Andy in their younger days. Caption: They have landed."w many kids and friends and tennis teams have we hauled together? Four comfortably, five just last week. And, in your younger days, more kids than a clown car can fit.

The very worst possible scenario is that you will be retired as the stallion you are to live in the garage until you are called on to haul cargo instead of passengers. I will not part with you. No one else could possibly know your reliability or pay high enough for your loyalty.  But, unfortunately for you, I am a true Texan and can’t survive a Houston summer without some real AC.

Love always, your sincere and familiar Commuter Chronicler.

Patsy, Paul and Andy in their younger days. Caption: They have landed.”

Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

January 21, 2013 at 10:11 am

2 Responses

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  1. Loved this one. Hey, you drive too much. I have less that 100k on my 12 year old car!


    January 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    • At least 70 miles a day, five days a week. Adds up quickly. When I first started doing it, I wanted an old reliable so that I didn’t care about banging it up. That’s exactly what I’ve had after breaking Vinny in. I will be edgy with something new. Thanks for writing. Hope to see you soon.


      January 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm

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