Finally going to do it

Published 2:00 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

Suffering through three childbirths, a gall bladder operation and an abscessed tooth are nothing to compare with the anguish of buying a new car.

I know now how many sleepless nights my daddy must have had before he finally broke down and bought a color television.

He was certain the 21-inch black and white set we had was sufficient, and no amount of talking Mr. RCA Robert Barr could do would change his mind. Daddy said color television hurt his eyes. Mr. Barr said it was the dollar signs that hurt Daddy’s eyes.

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Finally, Daddy broke down and bought a color television and, after his eyes got adjusted, he never mentioned anything else about them hurting.

Daddy did not spend money needlessly or at all, if he could help it.

If he ever bought a new car, I don’t remember or didn’t know. The closest thing we had to a new car was a green Hudson automobile that looked like a big, green bloated toad frog. He bought it second-handed. It was a one-owner. The man had died before the new wore off and Daddy got it at a steal.

Daddy said, as long as a car would run and the bumper would stay on, it was fit for the road.

My granddaddy, Pop, wasn’t much into cars either. He used his Buick as a battling ram. He herded cows with it, pushed tree stumps over with it and went senior citizen mud riding in it.

And, I might mention that Daddy and Pop were both tight with their money.

Buy what you don’t need and you’ll soon be selling what you’ve got. That was the code they lived by.

Their genes flow freely through my body and soul.

The car I have been driving for 10 years has a few miles on it — 279,000 to be close.

She, Maybelle, has a few dents, a cracked windshield, a bouncy bumper and is addicted to motor oil. She has “stalled” on me a couple of times and left me stranded every now and then.

I offered Willie Moultry, my personal mechanic, a deal. I would pay him $100 a month to keep Maybelle running. He refused. Said he might get the raw end of the deal.

So, for the last four months, I’ve been trying NOT to buy a new car. But every friend and foe is insistent that I get something “reliable.”

I finally gave in and gave my word on a car that is actually the best deal I could find. But, it’s a stick shift. Although I learned to drive on a tractor and have been driving a stick shift for the last 20 years, my “consultants” think I need to buy something with an automatic transmission.

“You don’t need to be 90 years old and trying to shift gears,” they all say in mimicking old-lady voices.

An automatic is $4,000 more and dollar signs hurt my eyes just like they did Daddy’s.

In 15 minutes, I’m leaving to buy a “reliable” car. I haven’t slept in four weeks. I might never sleep again for the suffering of what I’m about to do.