Something happens when an inanimate object is given a name. This is not the first time I have written about my relationship with "Sue-baru." She was purchased from a friend a little over two years ago. A solid well-cared for car, "Sue" got me home safely every time time I got behind the wheel; whether traversing in torrential rains perfect for hydroplaning, on roads with the potential skidding on patches undetectable black ice or plowing through a foot of snow when all you can see are curtains of white-I got home. Despite her advancing years, she was reliable. I felt safe.
There is something about a car with a name. My Great Aunt I called Auntie had a '56 Dodge named "Blue Belle." She was oversized and curvy with ticked wool apolstery that was scratchy and resisted my attempts to slide to the middle when my mother, brother, sister and I piled into her roomy back for a test drive. My Uncle Gene took turns close to the curb and fast so the feelers that extended from Blue Belle's body scraped the edge of the road. Auntie screamed, "Oh , mon Dieux! 'Impossible!" (Oh my God! He's impossible!) My four year old self did not know what that meant, but I know enough that it was not good; hiding my face in my mother's embrace. "Blue Belle" took us on picnics with fried chicken and chopped salad. She brought Auntie and Uncle Gene to us safely on a rare snowy Thanksgiving, but was found parked on the side of the road in Scarborough miles from their home in Portland and miles from Biddeford where they had just spent an afternoon. When idle, "Blue Belle" spent her time in a small wooden garage my Uncle rented. She was so shiny I could see my distorted image in her dark blue exterior. I am not sure what happened to the Blue Belle, however she remains the catalyst for Auntie and Uncle Gene stories. Their next vehicle was named, "The Green Hornet." My Aunt hated that car. Not curvy like the Blue Belle; he was angular and boxy. Their relationship was short-lived.
So about "Sue", adventures with her lasted just over a year because she did not pass inspection. The cost of labor to make the necessary repairs forced us into a decision. We needed to part ways. I couldn't. She wasn't junk. After months, I made a call to PBS car donation services. "Sue" has been idle sitting in our driveway, but I hope that a mechanic will donate his time to renew "Sue" to service.
This morning I will clean her out and leave the key in the glove box. A towing company is bringing her onto her next life. I think I will leave a Post-It note with a handwritten scrawl: Her name is "Sue-baru" and she is loved.