The alternative to new tires

Wayne MitchellMy phone rang Saturday as we were leaving for the Memphis airport. Our son Joe was heading to North Carolina to visit his father before the summer term at Ole Miss starts next month.

“Why would Jenny’s 84-year-old mother be calling me?” I wondered, as I looked at the caller ID. Only about an hour earlier, Jenny had finished the phone conversation she has had with her mother each Saturday morning for the past several decades.

“Have you been to see our car?” she asked when I answered the phone.

“No, we haven’t done that yet; we’ve been pretty busy this week,” I replied.

“Well, I thought maybe you had gone to look at it by now,” she said, with a bit of pique in her voice.

Uh oh, I thought. I obviously had not shown the proper amount of interest in the new car they had bought a couple of weeks before.

She went on to remind me that it was a 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium with a white sparkly tri-coat finish that we needed to check out at a Ford dealer.

Jenny’s parents, who live in the northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, share my interest in cars.

Jenny’s father, Jack, keeps up with the latest makes and models and, like me, reads reviews of cars in magazines. But unlike me, they trade cars pretty regularly. I’m not sure they ever have had to buy a set of new tires.

When Jack announced in March he was going to retire after more than 60 years as a barber, Jenny and I joked that one of the first things he would probably do was buy a new car.

It turned out not to be a joke. The barber shop hadn’t been closed a week when they told us they were out looking at new cars.

“Why?” we asked ourselves. He had a 2011 Ford Focus with 17,000 miles on it that he only drove to the shop. And Jenny’s mother, Janis, who has been retired for years, was driving a 2009 Lincoln with 32,000 miles.

Their reasoning was that in retirement they only needed one car. Apparently, the one car was not a nearly new Lincoln or Focus.

After we dropped Joe at the airport, I suggested to Jenny that we needed to look at her parents’ new car. We opted for the dealer on U.S. 78 at Olive Branch because it looked like they had a lot of new cars on the lot. Not any Fusion would do, of course. It was going to have to be a Titanium with a white tri-coat finish.

Luckily, they had one. It is a good-looking car, and the salesman didn’t even act like we were nuts when we told him why we were there.

Sunday we called Jenny’s parents to report that we had seen their car. We said all the right things, and how much we liked the way the paint glistens. At least until we mentioned the one we saw had a black leather interior.

Theirs is tan, they said.

Uh oh.


About Wayne Mitchell

Publisher of the New Albany Gazette