"Let's make a Ford and a Chevy that'll still last ten years, like they should.
The best of the free life is still yet to come, the good times ain't over for good." Are The Good Times Really Over, Merle Haggard, 1982.
Luis arrived in a battered pick up, his wife in the passenger seat. He emerged with a huge grin, firm handshake accenting his enthusiasm. Paperwork laid out, pen in hand....
The Malibu had been in our family for nearly ten years. It was the first major purchase of a young couple beginning a life together. She - money smart - found it economical, sensible and easy to drive. He - building an impressive career one block at a time - had reliable transportation with which to pursue financial security.
His talents were obvious. The companies that employed him always offered a car, and the Malibu sat. A casual conversation found a willing buyer - her Dad. The bargain wasn't hard, cash and keys exchanged hands. Dad insisted that daughter buy enchiladas and margs at the Rio. He'd spent his last cent on the "new" car.
Five years and fifty thousand flawless miles later it started to act up. The transmission no longer found high gear. No one puts a couple grand into a third car and so it sat again. Sat until Luis spotted it, left a card and brought cash. His friend, a mechanic, could drop in a tranny and give him a bigger car for his wife and infant child. Sob story, hard bargaining? A solid car in need of a bit of TLC for a young family is reason enough to sign the title away.
Outside, a parking space where the Malibu had been. She wasn't inanimate. She had safely carried the most important people in a man's life - children, wife - until the day she was called to serve someone else.
Getting used to having a parking space where the Malibu sat will take some time.