We have been together since 1985, when I bought him, used, for $3000, as my very first car. He has carried me across the country from college in Maine to California, and has carried countless loads of compost and mulch, manure and straw bales since. He has carried me slowly, loudly — he is a diesel — and economically (45 miles per gallon!) to every job I had, every class I took, until I had kids. Then he became the second car, the utility vehicle.
As a manual — i.e. stick shift — he has been zippy and fun to drive. As he has aged, he has slowly lost his looks. He is loud and smelly. He has no ceiling, just bare metal, and cracked seats and dashboard. His odometer stopped working at about 250,000 miles. Some days, his speedometer sticks and I have to judge my speed by the cars around me. I have to unhook his battery every time I stop, as there is a short somewhere that will drain the battery. I have kept him alive all these years out of pure love. I LOVE to drive this truck.
Last week, Baraka Joe nearly killed me when the hood latch fell apart on the freeway and the hood slammed up into the windshield. Fortunately, no one was around me, and I was able to safely pull over. It’s time to say good-bye.
I will miss this car so much! I love not buying gas very often. I love carrying wood and greenery to the dump and coming back with compost and mulch. I love shifting into 2nd, 3rd, 4th, listening to the rum-hummmm of the engine, and downshifting to slow down, my seat the perfect distance from the pedals.
Baraka Joe has never been in a hurry. That’s how he acquired his name, from a Swahili Proverb. Having such a long relationship with a car, with an object, is kind of a metaphor for what I value in life: taking care of what I have; keeping friends for a long, long time; going slow and seeing the blessings all around me.