Can we do it?

Can we do it?

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

There’s something you probably don’t know about me and my family. We love a challenge. Oh, I don’t mean a real challenge like running a marathon, inventing the next Snuggie or becoming a Nobel Peace Prize winner. No. We like our challenges small and seemingly insignificant.
Our current challenge of choice involves both of our automobiles. What’s our goal? 300,000 miles on the odometer. I know. Some of you love to trade cars more than you love eating homemade ice cream. By the time that new car smell wears off, you’re scoping the lots for your next shiny new vehicle. You’ll get no reprimand from me, friend. I applaud your willingness to keep our economy strong. Go buy a new car in peace, gentle reader. Go in peace.
But my family has a completely different philosophy about cars. We don’t turn our vehicles out to pasture until we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they gave it their all and are ready to be put down peacefully.  
My husband’s car currently has 202,000 miles on the odometer. We bought it new before our older son began kindergarten in Texas. It has seen us through 11 years of ferrying kids and family outings. It happily adjusted to a big move from Texas to Tennessee with no complaining. This car has taken my husband to UTM every day for years. Why, it’s a member of the family and it has never once left us on the side of the road. How could we forsake “Big Red” just because he’s now reached the golden years?
The SUV I drive has proudly traveled over 220,000 miles. We bought it five years ago from a local dealer. We bought it used … uh, I mean pre-owned. The paint and body are still shiny and beautiful. No rust or Bondo. The color is a lovely bronze like an Olympic medal. After five years, we’re just getting to know each other well. Our car/owner relationship is in full bloom. And I’m not willing to risk that precious relationship for the sake of more cup holders or shiny leather seats with bun warmers. 300,000 miles should be a piece of cake.
I’m sure some of you are questioning our common sense or financial stability. That’s fine. We’ve never felt the need to buy new stuff to prove that we have common sense or financial stability. Besides, if you read this column regularly, you already know there are a lot of areas where I lack common sense. I have a propensity to speed and eat too many carbs. I once put a jar of peanut butter in the freezer by mistake. The list goes on and on.
The most sensible thing I ever did was marry my husband 24 years ago. He’s a keeper. Come to think of it, maybe that’s where Phil and I got the idea to keep our cars rather than trading them in. Just because the body’s a little older doesn’t mean the engine stops roaring. Sometimes a worn interior or a little gray around the temples represents a unique comfort and stability. And in my book, that’s worth holding onto.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 9.12.12


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