(**inspired by being lost, again, at the Car Show in downtown Columbus)
Dear Brown, Tank-sized Station Wagon from the 1970s,
thank you for being there when I first learned to drive, and for teaching me to master parallel parking and the K turn, and for that day
when I was taking my driver's test and the guy yelled at me for driving down the center of the abandoned street and I started crying because I thought I had failed my test, but then the guy said, FINE, Go take your picture for your license, and I was crying and didn't want to take my picture but I did, and then my mom said Yay! You got your license, wanna drive home?
And I said NO! I hate driving! I never want to drive again!
And thank you, Small car, although I don't remember what color you were and never knew your make and model,
it was You who taught me to always wear shoes when I drove,
and to never ever ever drive in a nightgown to go pick up my boyfriend at one o'clock in the morning, where I would be sitting at a red light when a speeding car, --those headlights forever in the rear view mirror growing bigger and brighter (he's not going to stop HE'S NOT GOING TO STOP) hit me so hard I smashed my face on the steering wheel and totaled you-- so when the ambulance came to load me up, I had the great horror and shame of stumbling out of your accordion-wrecked body barefoot and nightgown clad.
And thank you, Chevy Spectrum (is that what you were called?)
a gift from my generous doting New England aunt when I graduated from college in Memphis, O how i loved you
until my aunt told me you had no air conditioning, --but Jody, do you really need air conditioning? Just turn on the fan. -- how (not) fondly I recall sitting in you, those 100-degree sweltering days, the bumper-to-bumper traffic, the only car with the windows open, the fan on full-blast blowing
hot air on my sweaty face.
Dear dear Bright Aquamarine Mini Van,
thank you for helping me schlep the kids all over town, the car seats and booster seats, the tossed toy cars and chewed on doll heads, the forever yellow and crispy McDonalds french fries tucked in your cushions,
the seemingly endless loop of carpools to preschool, elementary school, middle school, soccer practice, piano lessons, viola lessons, concerts, games, the friends multiplying in the back seats, the chatter/giggles/tantrums that sometimes gave me a headache but now in their absence make my heart ache.
All of you, Cars,
I forgive you your breakdowns, your heat, your flat tires, your cracked windshields, your dropped fan belts in the pouring rain.
In the end you did what you promised. You took me where I needed to go, and when the trip was over, you brought me home.