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Missing my dad. And his car.
August 8, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Today marks six years since my father died.
And I’ve written tear-jerkers a few times in the ensuing years, but lately, I’ve been smiling more and more about memories instead of crying about not having him here anymore. Oh, there are still lots of times for tears, but not as out-of-control as they were when grief was the initial order of the day.
This year, a curious thing that is making me smile has happened.
A wiring short in the main harness in the steering column of Enrico the Cruiser, so named because my dad, Enrico, bought this car a couple of years before he died and it became in the short time it was with him a kind of icon of his life. People knew when and where he was, and when it was new, the electric-blue PT Cruiser woodie got lots of comments and compliments.
It still draws its share of smiles and comments when I drive it, but it is getting a little older. Looks great but is a little shaky in terms of stuff like the electrical system.
The blinking radio started shortly after Dad died and the Cruiser became my daily ride. It was followed by a mysterious ailment that drained the battery and wouldn’t let me unlock the doors with the key fob. A short was found and a burned wire replaced. But the blinking radio came back. And got worse. And I’d pound the steering wheel or shove hard on the horn button to get things to function right. (I found when the radio was blank, the horn failed, too, and that is no way to drive.)
A couple weeks ago, a co-worker called and said, “Hey, your car just lit up.” Sure enough, the fog lights started coming on at will.
Yesterday, I went out to the garage and the battery was dead. By the end of the day, Enrico was being towed off to the shop, awaiting a wiring repair, and, while they’re at it, a new timing belt so he’s good for another 100,000 miles.
So it’s Dad’s sad annual anniversary and his car is not here. But I figure he’s watching over it, or he needs a car in the afterlife. And I cannot help smiling. Sure, having the best visible icon I’ve got of my dad’s life broken down is tough, but it reminds me that our lives aren’t just about stuff.
Enrico is just a car. With my dad’s soul, to be sure, but still, just a car. I had the real thing for most of my life.
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Enrico The Cruiser's on the hook.