I was 15 years old, and all I talked about was getting my license. The days of bus rides to school would be my past, and I would have the opportunity to adorn my rear view mirror with whatever fuzzy items I pleased. I had all these fancy plans of road trips and independent living. I would go anywhere I wanted! I would be so cool! Too bad that my parents weren’t about to buy me a new car. BUT I struck gold with an old family friend and for just 200 dollars, I had my baby.
Betsy was an ’82 Dodge 400. White with a red stripe along the side, red leather interior, and above all – a convertible. She was just the right kind of awesome you could ever want in a first car. She was stylish, no one had a car like her, and she had these awesome “additional features.” For example, she would only start up if you slammed the gas pedal to the floor. You had to commit to driving before you drove Betsy. She also had a mysteriously low idle and would die at every other intersection’s red light, proving an over-achiever with her “easy” automatic transmission. She also had a built-in weather gauge, as it would both rain and snow inside the car, with the multitude of holes in the canvass top. She was absolutely perfect, and I loved everything about her.
As with most females, if you take off her top – people think she’s more fascinating. Once I let Betsy’s top down for a cruise around town everyone would stare. The old men would wonder what I had done to get my own convertible, the boys would swoon for a drive, and I would ride cloud nine all the way to the 24-hour Walmart for fun times. I have really good memories in that car! A first kiss was made possible by that car. I sang to many early 2000’s pop music in that car. I stuffed inordinate amounts of teenagers in that car in the name of corn mazes and pumpkin ice cream. I also had stupidly spiky hair in that time… maybe that isn’t such a good memory. Anyway, Betsy and I lived the good life.
But that life was cut short. After only a year, I lost Betsy. She didn’t die in a normal way, though. No, Betsy was always the over-achiever. I was driving down the highway, trucking along at Betsy’ maximum of 55 mph, and suddenly I wasn’t going anymore. I steered the car over the side of the road and began to see smoke coming from the dashboard and the front of the car. I quickly took my belongings out of the back and walked to a safe distance, watching Betsy catch fire and eventually incite a small explosion.
My friends were nice enough to attend a humble funeral in her honor, to remember and mourn her grizzly death. A few psalms were read, rewritten with the appropriate terminology of course. I even made the mandated creepy slide show of pictures of Betsy in our life and left it on a mysterious loop in the room for the entire ceremony. After my friend concluded the service with an original tune, we ate cookies and went to marching band practice. Betsy would have it no other way. We had to keep marching through life, with or without her.