Friday, December 13, 2013

Saga Of A Cadillac

By Darlene Jennings

 I parked her back in August when she developed a power steering fluid leak.  Once Johnny B. and I had braved the blazing afternoon sun to fill up the reservoir but within a week the steering was squealing again.  So she was parked with all good intentions of getting her to the shop asap.  After six months bouncing around in the vw convertible and only putting the top down a couple of times to load flea market finds in the back seat I decided the time had come to turn my attention back to the caddy. 

 That car holds so many memories.  The Cadillac was a perfect baby-sitter when my granddaughter was a toddler.  Jeez…  she loved all of those buttons. (The same ones that don’t have letters on them anymore from cleaning with Windex.)  Just plop her in the front seat (keeping a good eye on the shifter for safety) and she would punch buttons, blow the horn and “ride like Clyde” in the power seats.  The radio was fun too. Off and on, off and on.  She seemed to prefer music from the 80’s so there is something to be said about those genes from her parents.  Climbing from the front seats to the back seats held a special fascination until she discovered that there was a secret compartment in the back seat console.  Ok…she broke the cup holders but big deal, I don’t ride in the back seat anyway.

 By the time her brother came along I had grown accustomed to the red Georgia clay on the back of the front seats.  Now really, do you think two toddlers in car seats aren’t going to constantly kick the front seats?  Try as I may I still can’t get that smoky red color off the leather.  If kicking wasn’t enough fun they both learned to roll the back windows up and down until I was finally smart enough to hit the lock button.  I still feel a little guilty telling them they broke the windows.  Anyone with grandchildren knows that all kind of stuff gets under those cumbersome car seats…..crayons, bubble gum, ink pens, French fries, hair barrettes, Ninja warriors, you just name it.  I could have had a yard sale right out of my car.

 If that car could talk it would tell you about trips to the North Carolina mountains slipping and sliding on ice, week-ends in Charleston and Savannah with girlfriends and countless trips to Athens, Georgia for visits.  It always amazed me how my daughter Traci could get in that car, lean the seat back oh so far and immediately fall asleep for hours and hours. She would then amazingly wake up when we reached our destination.  Well at least I didn’t have to listen to “Are we there yet.?”

 The 2002 auto has been in the shop more times than I want to count.  As of today I have replaced the engine twice, a transmission, the radio and entire electrical system, along with batteries, alternators and some other stuff I have tried to forget.  Naturally I have run through three sets of tires driving the past ten years from Pawleys Island to the office in Myrtle Beach five days a week.  She’s got more miles on her than Carter has liver pills but I can’t bring myself to say goodbye.  My family tells me she’s a lemon and my friend Darryl Hammond says “Set it on fire” but my heart screams Noooooo.

 “The good news..” says the Cadillac repairman last week “is that you do not have to replace the power steering pump.  Seems there was a broken motor mount causing the engine to shift back and forth that put a hole in the power steering line.”  Great I think…lets fix it.  He casually mentions that the engine thing also created a small hole in the air conditioner line and then they will need to flush the power steering reservoir.  “Oh, and there is a head light bulb out and you really need to shine up those head light covers as they are a mess.  And one more thing….all of that power steering fluid was leaking on your fan belt and caused it to come loose so you need to fix that as well” he says.  Ok …. I’m guessing we are up to $500 in repairs by now.

 Needless to say I was excited about picking her up yesterday.  I was already planning a trip down to Charleston on Saturday.  Ready to rock and roll in that smooth ride.  I should have known something was up when the girl in the dealership asked me if I would be paying by credit card.  I pulled out the American Express card. (The same one that is still carrying a balance from December’s cruise with the grandkids.)  “That will be one thousand seven hundred and thirty one dollars.” she calmly says.

            Does anyone have a match?

copyright Darlene Jennings, 2013 

 Darlene Jennings is a native of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and dates herself by remembering when "we turned off the two downtown traffic lights in the winter." She grew up with sand between her toes and sand-spurs to boot.  Proud mother of two and grandmother of two, Darlene has been self employed for over thirty years in Community Management.  (A job that sucks the soul right out of you, she says.)  Her relief is community service and writing spur-of-the-moment short stories. Many stories have been shared with family and friends who suggested she write a book.  But that just sounds like another job to Darlene!

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