Our family tends to apply nicknames to people and things who are most important to us.  I’ve got a car.  It’s “my car”.  I’ve got another vehicle.  Her name is “Lexi”.  She’s been a good vehicle.  She has safely delivered me and a couple girlfriends to Wyoming in the midst of a blizzard.  She’s got a slight crinkle in her heavy-duty hitch assembly as the result of an accident.  Her passenger side mirror casing has a crack thanks to an owl, of all things, that miscalculated my rate of travel on a mountainous Wyoming road.  She’s got a little rust pimple forming on her side panel complements of Nebraska salt.  There’s a stain on her industrial seat liner due to a Sonic slushie that lost its balance.  She causes a financial pain with the frequent stops she requires at the gas station.  Those things give her character.  But, I think I’m going to have to say good-bye to her.

Jeff searched long and hard for Lexi.  He spent endless hours scouring the internet on various sites looking for “the right one”.  After a couple of years of dreaming, he hit on her.  She hadn’t been sold yet.  Glory be!  He bought a plane ticket to California – round trip since he didn’t want to be presumptuous.  And he drove her home.  He had dreams of making her a daily driver and equipping her for weekend excursions.  With a little “plastic surgery” such as a roof rack, lockers, and wench, she could take us to 95% of the places we liked to go.  We could hike to the other 5%.  It would give us more room for our growing kids than the Cool Cruiser provided.  She was a symbol of pure pleasure and joy.  She never fulfilled those dreams.  She became a work horse instead, but she never complained.  That’s not why I have to say good-bye.

There is an image I have burned into my brain.  I thought it might go away.  It’s been a while and it has gotten dimmer, but I still see it often when I look at Lexi.  It was late the night Jeff arrived home with her.  We turned on the exterior lights of the house, took a flashlight and left all the lights on in Lexi so I could fully appreciate the beauty of her with him.  After she’d had a good looking-over, Jeff went and stood in front of her headlights, stretching his hands out in front of him, beckoning me to behold Lexi.  He smiled, utterly pleased with his find.  And said, “NOW I can die a happy man!”  Two months later he was diagnosed with cancer.  And now he’s dead.  Thankfully before he died he realized it wasn’t the vehicle that would allow him to die a happy man.  But, I think I’m going to have to let her go.

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