Betty, Sammy, Chuck
I have always named my cars. I do not know why, but I have….maybe because I needed them so much. I needed Betty, my ’73 Pinto Wagon with the wood-sided trim, to get me to and from my job at Ponderosa so I could pay for my college education. She was a great car and how I prayed that she would start after a long shift in the dead of winter. Betty had no heat, or de-frost but she could drive me and my roommates to and from campus and for (beer) and pizza.
Sammy was a hot car: a Chevy Citation with “dual mirrors and sport pinstripes”! I needed Sammy and so did by boyfriend, now my husband. He had a really cool Toyota Celica named Chuck. We ‘needed’ Chuck! He was fun and cool and I learned to drive stick with Chuck. My boyfriend /husband was not the most reliable with remembering to do things or take care of things and the engine “got fried” so Sammy to the rescue. He drove Sammy until Sammy died in the parking lot of a very large client and caused great embarrassment. Good Bye Sammy.
Hello Walter. Walter was a Buick Century. I disliked and did not need Walter. He was huge and just floated on the road. He did not handle as well as Chuck. One day I said to my husband, “you know, too bad they don’t make a car that handles like Chuck but is as comfortable as Walter.” He said, “They do, it’s called a BMW.” Ahhh, innocence! Well, we have had a few cars that never received the honor of a name and have done the job just fine. I had a Land Rover once named James. You know the whole British thing.
You are probably asking why I am writing about this now, after all these years. Well, as you know, the Northeast has been pounded with snow and ice. My husband and I have lived in Syracuse and the Buffalo area and feel like we are well schooled in how to drive in this weather. We are now in our late 40’s and have become an Audi family: a Q7 and an A6 sedan. I love Audi. They handle, perform and are safe. Last week, I hit a patch of ice in the Q7 and did a perfect 360. I have never had that happen and so since we have been remiss in replacing the tires, my husband will be driving it until such time as there are new tires on that car. So, I am on a white knuckle drive yesterday going up a hill and all of a sudden I said out loud, “C’mon Fredrick, you can do it”. Fredrick? It is pronounced Freed-rick, not Fred-rick. Odd, maybe some type of German Swedish thing going on, I really don’t know but I rubbed my St. Christopher medal and asked God, and Fredrick to get me there safe and sound. I had a flashback to Betty, sliding sideways up the college hill roads, and I tapped the dash the same way I did yesterday. I whispered “good boy” as I pulled into my driveway…some things don’t change, and that’s good.