Becky Says...

July 2005

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Katie - A Tribute - July 12

This is really hard to write. Today Katie the car is mine no more. She has been sent to salvage/crushing, after it was determined that her computer was shot and that was just the tip of the iceberg of problems.

And I am grieving. Katie (whose real name was Kathryn), during her life with me, was a great car. She was more than that, of course; she was a great companion and a good and faithful servant.

Back in the fall of 1987, when I got her, I was in therapy with my ex, trying to sort things out. I was in a lot of pain. But I had a pretty new car and could go on trips to see friends and family as I needed to go.

Katie was freedom.

Katie was the vehicle I most trusted in the world. I trusted that car like I trusted my own two feet, on mountain roads and flat highways. And she never gave me reason not to trust her.

Katie was trustworthy.

Katie was the car my mother and I went on adventures in. She had been to several family reunions before Mother got too sick to go. Katie had been to the relatives' homes for Christmas gatherings. She had been to the hospital to see Mother, and to the hospital to bring Mother home.

And at the end of Mother's life, Katie my faithful companion took me the long road home for the funeral.

In the last few years, she'd had some troubles. She had to have a new alternator, then last year she wanted a new starter. But those were things I could get fixed for her. This year, she made it through an icy patch on a street with great aplomb. She stayed on the job all through tax season, only hinting to me on April 14 that she was ill.

On April 15, when the first garage's computer couldn't get a reading at all, then she kept stalling on the way home, I had a bad feeling. I made the decision that I would leave the car alone until I could save up some money, because I was sure this was going to be a major expense.

I was right. Once I had reached a certain amount in savings, I talked with a friend who thought his mechanic might be able to deal with her troubles (my regular place did not do emissions system work, and I was pretty sure that was at least part of the problem). We got together and made plans for Katie to be taken in to the shop today.

The mechanic called me at work to tell me the news about the computer. The cost for that alone was more than I had saved, and he warned me that was not all that was wrong. The computer was giving erratic codes, but he could definitely tell there were other problems. I told him that I couldn't afford the computer right now, and we discussed the fact that I might be throwing money into a losing proposition. He suggested I talk with my friend, then we should call him back.

So I talked with my friend, then we called the mechanic. When my friend asked if the mechanic thought I should go ahead with the repairs, the mechanic said, "Honestly? I don't think so." And that sealed the deal. We made plans to get together after work and go get my stuff out of the car, as well as let me pay the mechanic for the diagnostics.

All the time I was getting my things, I told Katie how much I appreciated her years of faithful service. I told her I was sorry things would end this way. I brought the back seat floor mats with me. They're in good shape, and can be used in the kitchen.

My friend took her jack with him. So at least several parts of Katie will continue to serve me and mine.

After we left Katie, we went for ice cream. We took that with us to meet with some other friends, and several of us went out to dinner. I had breakfast. Comfort food.

I know there will be another car in my future, with some guidance from the friend whose presence and help today were so valuable. But I know my friend Katie, and her good and faithful service, will be part of my memory for years to come.

Text © copyright 2000-2005 Becky