Old Green And Me…

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Ruger, Cooper in back (note muzzle to prevent further chewing incidents!) and Samantha.

After being married for 8 years, my wife and I decide it’s time to get rid of my 1985 Chevy Chevette. It may be more out of embarrassment on her part, than mine. See, I had painted the Chevette with a 2” roller, using industrial strength “Chinese Red” paint, to thwart any rust.

We bought “Big Green” (BG), a 1998 Chevy Tahoe, in the fall of 1997. Just three weeks later, I’m hunting in WVA and I call home using a payphone, remember those?

It was the best call of my life! Camille tells me we are pregnant. While I’m screaming in joy, the line of hunters behind me think I’m crazy! I also take the biggest deer of my life on that hunt. Wow, talk about flying high on life!

BG was becoming my rabbit’s foot, bringing me great fortune. BG hauled my daughter home from the hospital after she was born. When it was time for Samantha to get her first puppy, at the ripe old age of five, it was BG who transported Ruger, our black lab pup home, in the backseat with her.

OG, battered and worn, rests until the next job comes up.

Duties

Big Green faithfully takes Samantha to and from school everyday, with Ruger riding shotgun of course, kindergarten through 11th grade, until Samantha starts driving BG to school herself. He’s the perfect first vehicle for her, big, strong, and safe. Besides Samantha wouldn’t have it any other way. She tells me Big Green is hers!

For three years Samantha drives Big Green until she needs more reliable transportation to make the trek to college two hours away. Samantha makes the down payment from her summer job at the Veterinarian office and helps with the monthly payment for her Jeep Wrangler. Meanwhile, I re-inherit BG, which suits me just fine.

Maisie-Lynn and Cooper ready for another ride!

New Beginnings In An Old Way

The first thing I do is re-name BG to Old Green (OG), out of respect, honor and the memories we shared. Plus, he’s earned it.

I happily take the reins of my old friend. He’s no worse for the wear. How could he be? At 20 years, that’s the equivalent of 100 human years, OG shows normal wear and tear, along with some great memories and some, not so great.

Ruger’s ashes always ride along under the passenger seat. It just wouldn’t
be right to be driving OG without Ruger along!

Ruger is gone, but Cooper and Maisie-Lynn still go on daily rides, filling OG with life. The oak box containing Ruger’s ashes is stowed under the front passenger seat, where Samantha placed them when he was cremated. OG made many trips to mom’s house when she was sick, and it was OG who drove us by the field of sunflowers on the day she died.

The driver’s seat visor still has the prayer card under the strap — from my uncle
Jerry’s funeral, back in 1996 — to be read periodically even now.

The driver’s seat visor still has the prayer card from my uncle Jerry’s funeral, back in 1996, still under the visor strap, to be read periodically.

OG still runs good, even if he leaks a little, but who doesn’t, at this age? He has some bald spots, clear down to the metal, on the roof and hood. I still need to get a paint job for him. His new tires give a smooth ride, much like a pair of orthopedic shoes.

T-shirt Testament

Why do I continue to keep OG around? It may be easier to explain it this way. I have a red Carhartt T-shirt probably as old as OG himself. The shirt-pocket corners have tiny holes, from where Samantha used to put her hand, when I carried her as an infant.

The neck and sleeves are frayed, looking like mini-fringe, and of course, I have holes in the armpits. And it may have a few tiny holes were molten lead splattered me.

Still, its one of my favorite T-shirts. Camille continually threatens to throw it out, but I protest, telling her just because it’s old, doesn’t make it worthless. It fits me perfectly, molding itself to every lump, bump and curve of my body from years of service.

It feels good whenever I slip it on, stirring so many memories when I do. The same can be said of OG. It’s a rolling shrine of some of the biggest events of my life. Again, just because something gets old, doesn’t mean it loses its value. For me, it actually increases its worth.

Green With Envy?

Driving Old Green, you might think I’d be envious of people driving newer vehicles. Sure, I have a 2012 Suburban, but I don’t get the same satisfaction or warm feelings driving it. The moment I get in Old Green, my mind is flooded with memories.

Oopsie! Cooper’s visited here …

The rear seatbelts are chewed through by my spastic border collie/golden retriever mix, Cooper, rendering them useless. Bloodstains in the rear cargo area remind me of past hunts as I hauled the deer home.

Old Green suites me just fine! Sure, he’s seen better days, but we’ve experienced a lifetime together! I’ll bet some of you may feel the same about a special gun, perhaps?

Don’t get me started…

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