If you’ve ever taken that sad trip to the vet to have an ailing pet put to sleep..you’ll know how I felt this week.
White Lightnin’ our 1990 Lincoln Town Car, which I’ve had for 18 years and written about several times here, is gone. Her just reward for such long and faithful service is a spot in the Ewe-Pullet yard at Nordstrom’s Auto Recycling near Garretson to be picked over for parts and stripped clean by salvagers like vultures on a dead wildebeest..then squished flat and melted down to hopefully be turned into steel to make another car for somebody some day.
I’d been driving Ol’Lightnin’ up until this past week and, in fact, would have kept her through another winter but try as I might, I couldn’t get her finicky heater to function again..so I had to make that dreaded call to Doug at Nordstrom’s. He had read a blog I’d written several months ago telling about the old Lincoln’s eerie ability to heal itself: a leaky power steering unit that suddenly “stopped” leaking, an air suspension system, radio and heater that mysteriously sprang back to life..and other restorative oddities. But this year, many of those same problems returned so I reluctantly called a Sioux Falls business I saw in the Shoppers News that advertised it will pay top dollar for any vehicle in any condition. But when I told them what I had they said “NO..NOT INTERESTED.” What an indignity. That’s when Doug from Nordstrom’s let me know that I could bring her out there and he’d even give me a couple hundred bucks for it. (That’s one good thing about big heavy cars..they’re worth more as scrap.) “Should we send a truck out to haul it in?”Doug asked. “Oh, no,” I said, “She runs just fine. I’ll drive her there myself.”
On that last ride, as we smoothly sailed down the road , I couldn’t help but think of all the places we’d been in that car and how great she looked when I bought it used at Frankman Motors in 1992. Her lovely white paint job glistened in the sun and every passenger commented how she rode like a dream in town or down the highway. When our daughter, Suzan, got married..the Lincoln served as their private limousine, shuttling the happy couple around on their wedding day with dad as chauffeur.
When I pulled in to Nordstrom’s, I half expected the radio to come on and the heater to start working as a one last desperate attempt to save herself. But not this time; she was ready to accept fate.
“Do you see a lot of people who get emotionally attached to their vehicles and are reluctant to give them up?” I asked Doug as I’m snapping pictures for posterity. “ No No..lots of folks feel just like you,” he said. “If you’re taking photos for your blog would you like to hang around for a shot of the fork lift loading it up and hauling her off to the yard?” “Naw, that’s alright. I said.
Just then I noticed some fluid start to slowly drip down from White Lightnin’s power steering unit.
I’ll miss you too, old friend.