One of the radio talk shows I came to love was “Car Talk” — every Friday in October, November, and December 1995 when I’d drive to Houston to MD Anderson while Phil was there, I turned the show on and laughed.
Oh that I could call those guys up now! One of the many details I’m handling now — what to do with the two vehicles. I’m visiting my cousin in Houston now, and her husband helped me this morning to find values for the two vehicles.
The newer vehicle is the 2009 Silverado that Dad bought. I remember when he did that — rather apologetically, he told me that he’d paid cash for it. He didn’t want to leave us with a car note. I laughed and asked him who he thought would give an 87-year-old a car note? It’s a solid, well-taken-care-of truck, a 4-door crew cab with a towing packing. I’ve come to enjoy driving that truck. In fact, I’ve probably driven it much more than I’ve driven my own Mini Cooper in the last year. But keeping it? I don’t think so. It’s handy, certainly, and I can use it. Yet I can’t justify the cost of keeping it — not for the few times I’d actually need it. Right now, it is very useful for hauling things back to my own house. But I’ll be selling it soon.
The other vehicle is one Dad cherished. It’s a 1977 Blazer that Phil bought. It was their hunting vehicle. That he didn’t really use it wasn’t the point; it had been Phil’s, and thus it was kept. Right now, Kay and I have had 3 people inquire about it, two of them young men who have ridden in it most of their lives. Their grandfathers were friends of Dad’s, and thus they both have memories of riding in it with the two older men. They both expressed their interest years ago to Dad, and I’ll take their interests in chronological order. I don’t want any bad feelings about this. I kind of like the idea of one of them owning the Blazer. It will have a history for them too, and I can sort of feel satisfied about that for some reason. Maybe it’s that Dad’s memory will continue along with the Blazer itself while one of them drives it.
The Silverado doesn’t have that kind of emotional history. I’ll figure how to get the most money for it, frankly. I may drive it to Houston to a Carmax and just let that place offer what it will, perhaps even sell it to them on the spot.
Trucks are fun, and for country kids, they’re almost always a vehicle of choice. Certainly I live in town, and love my Mini Cooper convertible. I must confess, though, to a certain feeling of comfort, of rightness, when I slide into the seat behind the wheel of a truck. It’s a known, a staple of my life. Dad always had trucks — work trucks, mostly. But after we were older, he started buying trucks. Mother didn’t drive anymore, so trucks were his vehicle of choice.
When I was a kid in the Egan oil field camp, most of us there had dads with work trucks. They became part of our playground at times, too. I remember Dad’s always had huge tool chests welded on. And a water cooler was always attached somewhere in the bed or on the sides.
Though I learned to drive in a car (an automatic), the second vehicle I learned to drive was a truck — my granddad’s 1956 Chevy. It was a manual shift, on the steering wheel itself. My hands can still go through the shifts in memory. That truck sits at the farm even now. Many times I remember riding in the back of it as we helped throw out bales of hay for the cows, or just riding in the back as Granddad and Dad and maybe Uncle James rode in the fields to look at things.
There’s certainly a bittersweet element involved with this part of clearing up loose ends after a death. In America we somehow often attach great personal meaning to vehicles, and so even after the owner’s death, there’s some tie to him (or her) for the family left to deal with everything.
Practical person that I am, I know they’re just hunks of metal that have particular monetary values. I can sell them with no problems. I’m only selling the physical items. The memories are still mine. Those have no price, and are not up for sale, ever.
So today’s Car Talk session has ended. I didn’t talk to Click and Clack, but I’ve acquired the information I needed. Those wheels are in motion.
The house itself is another matter. Last week I met with an appraiser, paid him, and am waiting for his report. I do have a list of repairs he suggested were necessary. I’ve already talked to Tim, the guy who did all the renovations, about what we need, and I’ll meet him Wednesday for a quote. I’ve paid the phone bill, and will cancel phone and Direct TV soon. I’ve got a storage room rented already in Lake Charles waiting for stuff.
Over the weekend, I decided that the next mountain to tackle will be the double garage full of tools. I’ll just load those up and store them, actually leaving the inventory for later. Kay and I have already decided on furniture to store.
So the bustle in the house continues, as we disassemble the life that it held for our family since 1966. Someone else will enjoy the house soon, I hope. It’s been a nice little house, a friendly one. Egan is a good little town, and people are choosing to move there.
Our family will move on. It’s time for a new family to fill it. A new family will move in, change it to suit their needs. I like the idea that someone will choose to live in our house.
It’ll be a home again. I hope our family’s love lingers to welcome the new family.