LESLIE CRISS: Safe, dependable car now belongs to a new generation

“The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete in the urban compound.”

Marshall McLuhan




“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.”

Dorothy Parker

Two weeks ago on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I accidentally bought a car. I’d been doing a lot of research online, reading reviews on the safety and economics of certain vehicles.

I knew whenever I made the leap and purchased a car, I wanted what’s known today as a crossover vehicle: It’s not a full-sized SUV, but it’s bigger than a car.

Truth is, my dream car in the decades since I got my drivers license has been the Jeep Cherokee I bought used and would have driven forever had my four-tired friend not acquired some issues that were too expensive to repair. A new car was, in fact, more affordable at the time.

I’ve missed that Jeep, sitting up higher, being eye to eye with the folks on the other side of drive-through windows.

Since the day I drove off the car lot, sadly watching my Jeep get smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror, I settled into the lower-riding 2005 Pontiac Bonneville I traded her for. But not before calling friends to ask if a Bonneville was considered a “mawmaw car.”

They assured me it was, in fact, a sporty vehicle. So, I was satisfied.

She was a safe, dependable ride for a long time. But when I accidentally bought a Toyota Venza recently, I knew she had to go.

I could blame my purchase on the very amiable salesman Hollis Brown, or my friend Cheryl. When the two of them realized they had a love of live theater in common, well, that pretty much sealed the deal.

Truth is, I liked the vehicle. I really, really liked it.

But, back to old reliable.

I was about to run a classified ad in the Journal, because classifieds work. But then my sister called from Huntsville.

“You wouldn’t consider selling us that car for your niece’s first vehicle, would you?”

Well, where my one and only niece is concerned, of course I would.

“Are you sure Bailey wouldn’t mind driving my old car?” I asked my sister, feeling sure Bailey would probably think of my car as a “mawmaw car.”

But my sister assured me Bailey was quite excited about having a car to call her own.

So, I came up with a good deal, a family deal, that Bailey’s parents mulled and accepted.

Then Cheryl spent all day last Saturday polishing the Pontiac until it shined like new. We removed my pewter University of Mississippi tag from the front and affixed a surprise for Bailey: a blue and orange Auburn University tag.

Last Sunday we met the Huntsville folks in the Shoals area and presented Bailey with the keys to her car. It was a proud moment for Bailey. And for her Aunt Lee.

As I watched my old Pontiac Bonneville disappear in the rearview mirror of my new vehicle, I found myself singing a snappy tune from the Fab Four:

“Bailey, you can drive my car … beep beep’m beep beep yeah.”


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