Thursday, May 24, 2007


One income, but we make it stretch.

One way, used cars. Tom's a mechanic after all. It works, for us.

We haven't made car payments for over 20 years. I think we only made payments for about 9 months, in triplicate, to pay off a little used pickup. Other than that, yep, 27 years of used cars. Not hideous used cars, no. Ours have been sweet, accommodating, dependable, pretty, tidy, comfy, safe, and sometimes even sporty 'previously owned' cars.

We bought Joe's 4x4 Trooper from him over a year ago, maybe two. Can't remember. How I love that little red rig! It has a manual transmission, with a 5th gear. Drives like a dream. Neither Tom nor I have ever placed a decal or bumper sticker on a car of ours, but Joe wanted to express himself, and it was his car first, so Pete, our Trooper, bears several little window decals stating those in-your-face sentiments.

YOU all laugh because I'M different, I laugh because YOU'RE all the same.

It's better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.

Don't interrupt me when I'm talking to myself.

He gets that talking to oneself habit from me, from my mom's side of the family. (My grandma always said, when we'd catch her muttering away to herself, "Sometimes it's the most sensible person to talk to." True. True.)

Anyway, back to Pete.

There's a Primus decal, featuring Old School Skeeter, on the lower right corner of the back window, where all the decals stick. Primus. The band that is counterculture, or is it counter-counterculture? I don't know. I DO know that I get a lot of waves and smiles from twenty and thirty-somethings because of that Primus mosquito. And a lot of scowls on the faces of people passing me in expensive cars, their expensive shades perched stylishly on noses which are sticking up in the air. Whether that's from the mosquito, the other decals, having to work so hard to pay off their expensive cars, or just indigestion, I don't know, but it makes me laugh. I don't much like Primus, but I love Joe, so the decal stays.

A white Apple sticker makes known to all who drive or walk behind Pete that we "Think Different."

Cassie, Caroline, and I carefully added a Bob Dylan decal. Yeah. It looks good there. We love Bob! (Today is his birthday! We sang to him. Wonder if he heard. If he did, he probably smiled.......or covered his ears. We are known for being terrible, though gleeful, singers.)

Are you wondering what Tom added? He's our resident Republican, fifth-generation Oregonian, gun-toting, yes, you guessed it, NRA member. He put one of his NRA decals on the car, and Pete shuddered. I swear. I thought Old School Skeeter would sting the heck out of it. But he didn't. On a 4x4 rig which gets a lot of off-road use (Cassie and Joe LOVE hitting the rough roads!) the NRA sticker seems fitting, I guess. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy guns and target practice, too, but the NRA, well, it's become sort of, well you know.........Tom's gonna leave a comment, I feel it in my bones.) Funny thing? The frame around the license plate states, Happiness is Being Norwegian. Another contribution from Tom.

We drive around town with this conflicting message about who we are. We are 'all of the above'. We are young, we are middle-aged. We are psycho-rock, we are classic rock, and we are just plain classic. We are conservative, libertarian, American. We talk to ourselves, fling our opinions around, and use those types of computers. We are eclectic.

To drive around in Pete is to drive in contentment. Windows down, music on (Primus? Jewel? Bob Dylan? Mozart? Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty? Hannah Montana? Depends on who's driving, and who's listening.). Pete has character. Pete makes me happy. In a de-skilled world, where skill has been removed from just about every 'activity', to drive Pete is to participate in a travel experience. Rather than traveling one-step below Jeeves chauffeuring you around, driving Pete is more of a sport. Not a spectator sport, an active sport where you use both legs and both arms, a full-body sport, one where you win every time! It's ridiculously fun.

And best of all, paid for.


tshsmom said...

There's nothing more freeing than diversity, is there?

I used to be a staunch believer in the NRA. Now, I agree with you...they're a bit too intense, and unbending for my taste. Sorry Tom. :(

deanna said...

My hubby's the resident Republican here; I'm more Independent (so I like to think). But yes, diversity with kindness rules.

Pete looks like fun, indeed.

Marianne Elixir said...

This post makes me miss my old Red - paid for - Rodeo. Of course, my only decal was a Gutenberg College sticker.

Funnier still, is that I was thinking about writing a blog today on bumper stickers - well, more specifically, Christian fish and other such 'evangelistic' bumper stickers. What exactly are the point of those? If you drive really well and let people in when they blinker, is that going to make the driver behind you start wanting to surrender his life to God? Is it just self expression? And if so, is a single fish really sufficient to express the uniqueness that is oneself? Anyhow, these were my thoughts today as I was stuck in traffic. I would have enjoyed being behind Pete, because it would probably have caused me to ponder who could have such diverse interests. I probably would have wanted to meet the person.

Cherie said...

tshs: Tom will live. :-) (He gets pretty frustrated with them, too, at times.)

Deanna: You witnessed us heading out for an adventure today. Did you notice Cassie getting behind the wheel? Yes, diversity with kindness rocks!

M.Elixer: I've pondered the same things - about the fish, I mean. Puzzling, no? Yes. I've often wondered if maybe the CAR was a Christian. Ha! I know Pete is. ;-)

You oughtta write a post about that. Food for thought, and you are excellent at such things.

Also, we are going to get a Gutenberg sticker one of these days.

Thanks for the comments, gals!

Anonymous said...

This is a fun post. I think you are over your funk? I would enjoy riding with you in Pete. You are quite a family.

IndianaJones said...

Ahhh the naming of a beloved car. I always have named my first was Ms. Emma Peele an orange VW Bug, i loved her and she served me well, of course the only bumper sticker she had was a rainbow which was mostly to scare my youth group into thinking i was a lesbian (oh dear!)
Now we drive dear Billie (named for the fabulously smooth Ms. Holiday) who has been beyond faithful over the years. She only sports a Gutenberg College sticker and a Jolly Roger for good measure.
I drive around wondering if anyone who reads it thinks; "where the heck is Gutenberg College??"

I agree whole heartedly that a paid for car is the best!
it was oh so fun to hear about pete.

Wandering Coyote said...

This is a great post, Cherie! A true celebration of individuality!

I talk to myself, too.

Anonymous said...

It is a Trooper, after all, and Troopers are meant to be armed. The NRA does their job well and are respected by their adversaries as well as their supporters. The sticker stays.

Pete's a good little 4x4. It gets around good in the hills and in the snow.

Cherie said...

Annie, it would be fun to take you for a ride in Pete. I guess I'm over my funk, so far as to say I've moved from the emotion of it, to the mental processing. So far, I have to say, all I have is the question, so I give it space, put it on the back burner of my mind, mull it when it flares up, and will wait to see if God somehow answers, or if I shall have to be content to have my very own, unanswered question. Not the first. Thanks for asking!

Summer, I laughed at loud at your comment. I'll bet you looked terrific in Ms. Emma Peele, bombing around town with your rainbow (LOL!) And now Billie after the gracious Billie Holiday. Sigh. (My son Ben had a Jolly Roger flag flying over his house for awhile. Aarrgh!) One time Tom and I were running errands when we pulled up to a stop sign behind a car that had - lo and behold - a Gutenberg sticker. Sorta rare, as you know. It turned out to be Dale Crabtree! Gotta get one of those for Pete. (A sticker, not a Dale Crabtree.....)

WC - thanks! Do you find that sometimes you are the most sensible person to talk to? I think Grandma was right, don't you? Sure seems that way to me. She always said there was nothing to worry about until you started answering yourself. I guess I should worry then because I have full-on conversations with myself.......but I don't worry.

Tom - okay, I knew it. You bet the sticker stays! It's XX00XX :-D

tshsmom said...

I argue with myself...and seldom win. Is this a bad sign?

As for the icthus...I always wanted one for my truck, but I can't find one. To me, it symbolizes a safe place for Christians to be.
The sign was originally used to signify safe Christian houses, where it was safe for Christians to gather as "fishers of men".

tweetey30 said...

Hi thought I would finally come say hi. I have seen you at Tshsmoms blog alot. Nice post. We dotn put anythign on cars either. We have only had five cars. And we make payments on them for credit reasons other wise we would just get beaters as hubby puts it.

Cherie said...

tshs: I don't think it's a bad sign that you talk to yourself and lose, no. It means at least one of you is right. Right? Huh?

tweetey - hey, glad you stopped by! I've seen you on tshs's site, too. I like your usage of the term 'beaters'. That's what Tom calls them, too, though we've never had a beater. Making payments for credit reasons is smart. Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a car like Pete!!!!!!

cecily said...

I have an old car and I want a new one... but sometimes I love that I'm a bit counter culture by not being in debt for a new one! I also love that I haven't discarded the car because I want a new one (even though I really want to discard it... just trying to live differently I guess). And now I've just discovered another person in the counter-culture, no-discards club. Woohoo!

Cherie said...

Hooray for the counter-culture, no-discards club!

(Secretly, if someone were to drop a brand new car in my driveway, hand me the keys, all paid for free and clear, I would still be happy - as long as it was fun to drive.... But I'd still keep Pete. :-) Thanks, Cecily!

Cherie said...

katey b. - maybe you will someday, and you will love it dearly! Thanks!