The long goodbye
She got a little needy in her later years, and, though we loved her still, we approached her with a timidity that must have hurt her feelings.
“What’s she doing?” my daughter Katherine whispered when she saw a frail arm reach out from the rear window and swing back and forth randomly.
“She’s greeting you,” I whispered back. “Just wave back to her.”
Obediently but with a look that recognized the absurdity of such a gesture, Katherine slowly reached her right arm up and matched the wave, back and forth.
Often, in these past few months, I stood outside her door while my husband Vince quickly negotiated with her to let me in. She always agreed eventually, but her initial hesitation stung and chipped away at our relationship.
“Don’t take it personally,” Vince reassured me, and I tried to be cool about the whole thing.
But it became increasingly humiliating to stand outside and wait, particularly in inclement weather.
“I don’t get it,” I said. “Why does she let you right in but I have to stand out here like a door-to-door salesman, begging for a moment of her time?”
“She’s old,” he said. “She doesn’t mean it.”
I let it pass because, frankly, I had no choice.
She’d been a real humdinger in her prime and wore the kind of steel gray that spoke of strength, experience and a ramrod chassis. We shared some excellent adventures, including a road trip to Dallas through a blizzard to see our Packers win the Super Bowl.
She loved heading up to Lambeau as much as the rest of us did, and we relied on her to help us tailgate. She loved our cabin, too, and didn’t even mind the occasional scratch or two she picked up from our adventures in the woods.
She also safely guided us to Mayo Clinic several times, including once through an ice storm.
For a while, it seemed like we would always have her in our lives.
But, odometers don’t lie and, when hers rolled over to 216,000, we knew we needed to heed the call of Bergstrom’s June 3000 and trade her in. So, with actual ceremony we turned in our 2009 Traverse in last week for a spiffy young Equinox.
The old dame protested a little as she rolled down our driveway on that sunny, Thursday morning, then gave one last random wave of her back wiper.
Good bye, old friend. It’s been a real, sweet ride.