Grandma Moses

I acquired my current vehicle after my grandmother passed away in 2004. We were short a vehicle, nobody else needed it, so we became the proud owners of a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville. Let me tell you, this car is the epitome of a “grandmother vehicle.” It’s big. It’s silver. It has red interior. Not maroon, red. The cloth seats have that texture that only exists in cars your grandmother drives. The seat has a slight curve right where my upper back makes contact with it, and the headrest is far too low for me… But the seat is built perfectly for a 5’2” grandmother who hunches. I’m telling you, it’s the quintessential grandmother mobile. Now, at first blush you’d think the car wouldn’t last long. It was twelve years old when we acquired it, so surely it can’t last that much longer, right? Wrong. My grandmother drove it from her home to church, the beauty parlor, and the grocery store once a week. When the car came into my possession, it had 60,000 miles on it, and it was in excellent running condition.

It became the mainstay vehicle for my treks to and from law school. During that time, I decided to name the car Grandma Moses; I didn’t name it after the artist, but instead after a car a roommate of mine had in college, and the name seemed to fit this car. I thought that surely this car would not make it through law school, would it? And for a while, it seemed as though it wouldn’t. Midway through school, we had to have the transmission replaced, which I’m sure cost more than the car is actually worth. But once we got past that, I began to think that it just might survive the weekly treks between home and Waco. I also hated it for that.

While the car runs just fine and can get from Point A to Point B without too much hassle, it’s not the most enjoyable of experiences. For some reason, the A/C won’t start blowing through the main vents for about fifteen or twenty minutes. In the meantime, it blows cold air through the defrost vents; which, in a humid climate like Central/South Texas means that the windshield fogs up. One of those main A/C vents doesn’t want to stay in place; if you touch it, it will fall out of the dashboard. The passenger side handle broke one day when my cousin applied the tiniest bit of pressure to it. The ceiling fabric lining is falling down (instead of having it fixed, I stapled it in place). The car has no CD player, so I use a tape adapter with my iPod to listen to music… Only I can’t listen to music in the car anymore, because the speakers cut in and out intermittently. If that isn’t enough, there’s some crack behind the dashboard that squeaks non-stop while I drive. There’s a big crack in the dashboard from the windshield all the way to the edge near the steering wheel. For crying out loud, Grandma Moses, my Bonneville, is old enough to vote. My roommate and I used to joke that, like a train, I’d have to hit the brakes about a mile off to stop her in time and that she had the turning radius of an aircraft carrier.

But somewhere during PC I realized Grandma Moses had personality. One frigid February morning I trudged out to the parking lot at about 6:15 a.m. to head to school. As I opened the driver’s side door to Grandma Moses, the door creaked so loudly that my roommate heard it from his room in our apartment. I tried to silence her with WD-40 and graphite, but it only helped for a day or two. I realized that she was just as unhappy as I was at having to get up so early and get moving. It seemed a perfect voice for this grumpy car of mine – the croaking, creaking groan of a door that doesn’t want to open coming from a car that wants to sleep for two more hours at least. I realized that we had been in this adventure together. Cantankerous as she was, Grandma Moses wasn’t going to quit on me. She didn’t. She got me through law school, through the bar exam, and got me back home. Her flaws are numerous (I didn’t even list all of them, not even close), but she was a workhorse. She still is. Now she accompanies me on my daily treks north to work.

And yesterday, she finally hit the 100,000 mile mark. Nearly nineteen years in the making, Grandma Moses rolled over the 100K. Congratulations, you old battleship. I love you.

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2 Responses to “Grandma Moses”


  1. 1 clark November 14, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Don’t tell Grandma Moses, but I do hope that you get your Acura very soon. Congrats on the 100k milestone.

  2. 2 Chris November 15, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Great write-up buddy. It’s the time we spend earning our hard knocks (a horrible job, a cantankerous car, etc…) that make us appreciate the sweet lives we live. Nothing but blue skies ahead.


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