Breathing a little more life into Maybelle

Published 11:00 pm Friday, June 1, 2012

If cars can be sick, Maybelle is very sick.

Whether it’s a terminal illness or a chronic one, the wrench doctor is not quite sure.

It started with “liver spots” on her hood, top and trunk. A home remedy of sorts was not recommended but tried.

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A friend, Deedie, I’ll call her, agreed to help with a cosmetic cover up for the “liver spots. The idea was to “toss” a quilt lovingly over her “body” and hide the old age spots, thus giving her new life – a good coat of paint will help any old barn.

Admittedly, the “rouge” that we applied gave Maybelle a look more of a relic from Woodstock than a warm, comforting quilt.

Sometimes folks say something and you’re not sure whether it’s a compliment or not.

I wasn’t real sure about what Carter Sanders said about Maybelle’s cosmetic enhancement.

“When I saw your car, I thought it had rusted,” he said. “Then, I saw that you’re just a blooming idiot.”

But, knowing Carter, I kind of took it as an off-handed compliment.

I’ve been asked, “Why’d you do that?” a thousand times or more. The answer that seems to satisfy most folks is, “to embarrass my children.” But, actually, it was a feeble attempt to hold on to Maybelle just a few thousand miles longer.

It’s easy to get attached to things, even a car. I can’t explain that and a lot of folks can’t understand it. But I’m a one-car kind of gal.

Inside a car, it’s possible to be completely alone. You can talk to yourself and nobody knows. Why, you can even talk back. You can sing and nobody cringes if you’re a bit off key. You can laugh when happy and cry when sad. And, if you’re angry enough, you can say your Sunday school lesson backwards. All your thoughts, your fears, your hopes and dreams are contained inside that tin can on wheels.

Having to let go can be traumatic so I was determined to ride Maybelle ’til the wheels fell off.

When Maybelle turned 222,222 miles two weeks ago, I proudly took a picture of the odometer and felt confident that she would be around for many more miles. She was running like a well-oiled machine.

A week later, she had a completed “brake”-down and three days later, another.

That must have “tire-d” her out. Her treads were thin and her uppers had to be pulled and replaced. That caused her rear to deflate.

She started to roar and groan so much that my brother, who is usually a quiet fellow, bellowed, “Why don’t you get your money out of the freezer or wherever you keep it and buy a new car?”

Sometimes people can really hurt your feelings.

Maybelle has been a part of my everyday life for 222,388 miles. That’s a long time.

Saying “goodbye” is always hard and what makes it even harder is the sticker price on new automobiles. The car that I kind of seriously looked at costs $16,000 and that’s the same thing we paid for our first house. And the house included a living room suit from James Boswell’s furniture company.

So, I’m thinking about a combi tuck, a transplant and some enhancements that I’d rather not mention for Maybelle.

If I can coax a few more miles out of her, maybe I can hold on to my cold cash a little longer.


Jaine Treadwell is features editor for The Messenger. Contact her at