I collect cows- of the beanbag and ceramic variety- so I suppose it was appropriate that my car was starting to resemble a Holstein. The big white Plymouth had been losing its paint for some time, revealing large spots of dark gray primer all over. For many years, the ‘beast,’ as we had taken to calling it, had been reliable transportation. Now, with far too many miles on it, it had taken to stalling at the most inappropriate times- idling in traffic, stop lights- its’ favorite trick being upon acceleration. The air conditioner had stopped functioning long ago and the heater was temperamental—it ran either full blast or not at all. The passenger window would not go down, the door lock on the driver’s side was stuck, and the seat belts perpetually jammed. Is it no wonder I was longing for a new car?
I had recently started working and with my husband’s blessing, was actively car “browsing.” We figured that with my paycheck we could manage the monthly car payments, so long as the purchase price was within our budgeted range. I knew what I wanted but I wasn’t holding my breath about finding one that met those conditions.
I wanted a P.T. Cruiser. From the day Chrysler first came out with the model, I had dreamed of owning one. I even had my list of criteria: sun roof, air conditioning, electric windows and locks, stereo system… oh and it had to be red.
I picked up auto-trader magazines and scoped out the classifieds. I scrutinized Craigs' List and bank repo postings. As I coaxed “the beast” through traffic, I saw every P.T. Cruiser that passed me. It was making me a little crazy.
Finally, I came across an ad for a used P.T. Cruiser that listed just under the highest we could go. It was three years old, had a decent odometer reading, and was, judging by the picture, red as a ruby.
We wasted no time in visiting the car lot and arranging a test drive. As my husband drove, I pushed buttons like a kid. It came with all the accoutrements I desired plus one I hadn’t even thought of: built in bun warmers!
I let my husband do the dealing as I circled the car admiring the curviness of her design. I sat inside, enjoying the feel of the fat steering wheel in my hands. We were bonding.
This was on a Friday evening. We had to drive away with no firm decision in place because a trip to the bank would need to happen first. I was impossible all weekend.
Monday morning, I was at the bank to apply for my loan as soon as the doors were unlocked. Sending up silent prayers, I watched the loan officer whisk my application away. By day’s end, I would have my answer.
As I chugged home in the beast, I reviewed every car I had owned. While some had been red, none had been new. While I had traded up each time, none had been without defects. While many had been reliable, none had been cute. Oh, how I wanted this car!
At five minutes to five, the cell phone in my pocket chirped. It was the bank. The answer was yes! I could pick up my new car tomorrow! As I called my husband to relay the news, it sunk in that the next day was also our anniversary. Poor dear had to tell me twice to calm down and quit shrieking! Nevertheless, he was excited too.
The next afternoon my friend drove me to the car lot. Her husband, who happens to be our pastor, met us and prayed a blessing over my new car. Then, I was behind the wheel, ready to drive her home. I turned the key, tuned the radio to my favorite Christian station and was enthralled to hear Darrell Evans singing, “You Bless Me.” I could hardly see to drive for the tears. Blessed was exactly how I felt!
It was a glorious autumn day. With my sunroof open and the music cranked I drove to my daughter’s house. I had promised my grandson a ride. Just starting kindergarten, Zachary was a wealth of information. “Grandma it’s a primary color!” he informed me as he admired the shiny red console.
A primary color indeed! She’s red as a ruby! And, Ruby is what I call her.
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