I received an email from my cousin’s wife Nicole in Phoenix a couple of days after I posed the story about the Solara. She’s a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling their two children. They only have one car, so it takes some coordination for her to have it while my cousin Chris is at work.
Anyway, they’ve been thinking about getting a second car, but it’s a huge expense. And anything cheap wouldn’t really be trustworthy. After all, cars are cheap for a reason.
Then Nicole read my blog and emailed me, asking if Phil had sold the car, because they would consider buying it. I texted him, he called me, we discussed it. He hadn’t sold it yet, though was ready to. So he contacted them (he knew them from when I lived in Phoenix), and a deal was made.
She emailed me, so excited about their perfect car. We celebrated the fact that the little car was staying in the family, that it hadn’t been given to a stranger.
Until I remembered that it’s a stick shift.
I always drove stick shifts, until my current Solara. Liked having control over when the ears were changing, especially on icy roads. My father believed that I should know how to drive a stick, so my first car, a Rabbit, was a stick. My parents came up to my college one weekend, bought the car, left it in the parking lot, and went home. It took me weeks to learn how to drive it – weeks, and the extreme patience of my friends as I bucked and stalled through town. Chris’ father actually was the one who finally taught me how to manage the clutch, and saved my friends from future agony.
But once I moved to the flatlands, I reluctantly bought an automatic (it’s hard to find stick shifts any more, especially in cars that are no longer being made). And didn’t even think about the little black car being a stick – in fact, I’m not even sure why it occurred to me when it did. But once it did, I sent Nicole a quick note, asking if she knew how to drive a stick.
She didn’t. Neither did Chris. But her parents did. So they went with them to pick up the car, and I hear they’re giving shifting lessons.
I was so relieved that the little car stayed in the family. Once again, its magic worked. I hope it takes care of my loved ones as well as it took care of me, and Phil. Once they learn how to drive it!
Oh, and Nicole found this picture in the paperwork. It was taken the day I bought the car, June 1999, in Coeur d’Alene, ID. (Those were the days I was still determined to have curly hair – luckily I’ve given up THAT habit!) Anyway, who knows what the next chapter will be in the story of the Little Solara That Could. Stay tuned…