Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Sweet Ride

Blog Coordinator's note: Remember the summer you got your first vehicle? The freedom you felt? The road trips? WWW President Erin Gray remembers in this look at her "sweet ride."
Erin Gray's original "sweet ride."
I was fifteen, earning my driver's permit when Daddy bought the Nissan. The deal was simple: I could keep the truck as long as I maintained good grades. Gas was my responsibility and doable back when twenty bucks filled the tank.

I have many wonderful memories with that truck, most with my best friend, Erin Taveira Glenn by my side. We took that truck places in the mountains we probably shouldn't have. We lost a muffler and about washed the entire vehicle crossing what looked like a stream. Looking back on the experience now, I think it was more like a river!

I repaired and repaired again the Nissan, making is last for over half of my life as my first choice of transportation. I've strapped dogs, friends (more than the legal capacity), and car seats in the cab. I have push started that truck more times than I could possibly remember, including an entire semester when my husband, Eric and I were too broke to fix the alternator.

This last winter, we again dumped money into the Nissan, Eric scratching his head at how stubborn his wife can be in refusing to get a reliable vehicle. How could I part with something that has been with me over 16 years? We made a deal: The truck had to last for a full year to justify the most recent repairs. We shook on it.

It lasted three months. Right into the coldest part of the winter. With mixed emotions, we drove to the car lot and purchased my first vehicle since turning sixteen. And I love it. I love that it has air conditioning and heating. I love that it starts when I turn the ignition, and that I don't have to push it. It doesn't whine and cough in the cold. It is completely reliable. I feel safe loading up the kids, and safe on the slickest of roads. It doesn't have the odor of wet dog mixed with who-knows-what-kind of air fresheners and cleaning agents. No scars or dents.

But I found that early in the morning when I jumped into the new vehicle, I missed the smell of old vinyl and dust, and the curiosity if today I would be pushing the thing down the hill, or flooding the engine to get it going. Strange a person can miss those tasks.

What did I do with the Nissan? I sold it on Ebay. It was hard to let it go. But sitting in my driveway was doing neither of us any good. And it couldn't have gone to anyone better. A kid's dad bought it. It was just like the one he had owned, and he wanted to fix it up for his son. He loves it, and for that I'm glad.

It was a sweet ride, taking me through the adventures of adolescence and into adulthood. And the new vehicle? Well, my seven-year-old son, Ethan has dubbed it his sweet ride. We'll see.

Erin S. Gray writes historical fiction for adults and young adults. She backpacks through the very mountains about which she writes and was inspired to begin her novel, Moonshine Murder, after stumbling across an abandoned cabin during a trek deep in the San Juan Mountains. Erin is the 2013 president of Women Writing the West, and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. A graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in English, she lives in southwest Colorado with her husband and two young sons.


Connecting People with Nature, and Writers with Words said...
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Connecting People with Nature, and Writers with Words said...

Nice! I love the circular feeling of this, Erin. The comforting reassurance that life, even in these small moments, does indeed have a pattern. Thank you.

Heidiwriter said...

Love it, Erin! I know what you mean about becoming attached to a vehicle. Sounds silly, but... My first car was a maroon 1964 Chevy Belair that had belonged to my grandfather. I drove it in to town to attend high school and stayed in the dorm during the week, then drove home on Friday night. I had it through college and into my first married years. When it came time to replace it, I couldn't do it. We drove it out to my parents' ranch and gave it to my dad.

Karen Casey Fitzjerrell said...

Ah. That first vehicle. Our first taste of freedom and adventure. It is no wonder we all remember the "first." Your post brought back memories for me, Erin.

Erin Gray said...

Thank you. It was a sweet ride for sure.

Erin Gray said...


Thanks for sharing. It was hard to say good bye to something I've had half my life! Good memories though. :)

Erin Gray said...

I've had quite a few share their first sweet rides. It's been fun!