“I’m in a hurry to get things done.— “I’m In a Hurry” song lyrics by Alabama, country music band from Fort Payne, Alabama.
Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun.
All I really gotta do is live and die,
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”
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“So, do you need a new truck,” my friend asked?
The question was not without merit. Nor was it unexpected.
Nice try, I thought. But I already knew the answer. Yes, my 2009 SUV just turned over 200,000 miles. Yes, it appears another trip to the repair shop is going to take place Monday because it is pitching the same fit it threw back around Christmas. Yes, this will be the third trip for what appears to be a very similar problem: the motor and the computer have differences of opinion when I turn the key requesting it to start up.
Just mindlessly turning the key used to bring the motor to life with no thought of any delay. Then off I would go, cruising and singing along with Elvis, Little Richard, Fats Domino, or Buddy Holley on Sirius XM’s 50s on 5.
Lately, however, turning the key has too often led to an intermittent mass of instrument panel warnings that much less entertaining than Chuck Berry’s “motorvatin’ over the hill when he saw Maybellene in a Coupe de Ville.” Nice for Maybellene, maybe. But I was going nowhere.
Ominous messages like “traction lock off” and “service traction link soon” were scary enough. Then for added drama, here comes the check engine light. These distractions ultimately interfere with fundamental driving functions like starting quickly, and worse, my music. What is a traction link, anyway?
The first repair shop visit cost me $546. That bought me about two weeks of once again mindlessly turning the key to bring the motor to life. Then came the second computer cacophony. That one was just under $400. But it’s lasted since Christmas.
However, I’m still in no rush to replace the trusty steed. I’ve just now got this one broken in. So what if it’s sometimes cranky about cranking? The good news is that it runs perfectly once the ignition switch convinces the computer that it really is time for the motor to motivate.
“You work on cars, why don’t you fix it,” came the next question not without merit and not unexpected.
“Because I enjoy working on cars that are just cars,” was my response. “Not the ones with computers. Always been my contention that if God had intended for cars to have computers, Henry Ford would have invented the computer and the car.”
“But don’t you think yours has too many miles on it?”
“Hardly,” I snapped. “Every one of the last four vehicles I’ve owned had more than 200,000 miles on it before we came to the final fork in the road. And with new cars costing more than I paid for my house, this one may be the one with which I finally break the Bobby Pinkston record.”
Bobby Pinkston was the editor at the Light and Champion when I was publisher the first time in the 1980s. Bobby’s father, Bob Pinkston, was publisher of The Center Champion before the newspapers merged in 1984 to produce the Light and Champion. Bobby had worked all his life for The Champion before the two papers became one. The day that transaction was completed, he went to work for us.
“I’m guessing you’ve had this truck a while,” I told Bobby the first time I rode with him. That was my tactful way of noting that his mid-70s Ford long-wheelbase pickup displayed a degree of patina.
“Yeah,” said Bobby. “And it’s only got 350,000 miles on it.”
“Only,” I thought? I had no idea then that vehicles would go that far. “And you drive it every day?”
“It’s the only thing I drive,” he smiled. “I drive it all over the country on hunting and fishing trips and to work every day. I never get in a hurry, and it gets me everywhere I want to go.” During that conversation, I discovered a newfound respect for high-mileage vehicles like Bobby’s brown pickup, and the challenge of seeing just how far one will go.
The last question not without merit and not unexpected from my friend last week was, “So … you’re going to get this one fixed and keep it?”
“Yep,” I said. ” There’s really no hurry to get anything done. I’ve got at least another 150,000 miles to enjoy this one.”
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Aldridge columns are published in these Texas newspapers: The Center Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant Tribune, the Rosenberg Fort Bend Herald, the Taylor Press, and the Alpine Avalanche.
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