The Last Word on Life at the Lake; Lake Cars

The first car I owned was a 1992 Chevy Cavalier that I got through a trade for a pair of skis. It had a big dent in the door, and its previous owner wanted to donate it to a charity; but, he saw how much paperwork he’d have to fill out to give it away, and I struck a deal for a pair of skis I had sitting in my bedroom. It gave me a few problems, but I got a repair book on it from the library and was able to fix the minor issues without too many issues. After I’d had it for a year or so, we got a big snowstorm in Minneapolis. I misread the parking signs and put it on the wrong side of the street for the snowplows, and it ended up getting towed. I couldn’t afford to get it out of the tow lot, but the guy who worked there let me get my toolbox out of the trunk, and that was the last I saw of it. 

A few years later, I bought a 1994 Buick LeSabre off my friend Travis for about $1,200. It was an upgrade from my two door, sporty Cavalier to a luxury vehicle. I drove it around the country, including a long stint in Utah going up and down the canyons and mountains, and the only maintenance it ever needed, besides oil changes, were brakes and tires. It survived a crash with a large deer on a forest service road at about midnight but never fully recovered. The dents rusted a bit, and I never replaced the grill, but one person noticed it as a diamond in the rough and offered about $500 for it after I’d left it parked at my parents’ house when I moved to New York. 

The third and last car that I bought was a 2012 Lexus SUV off my parents. I took it to New York and paid a small fortune to keep it in a parking garage where it would sit, sometimes for more than a month, without being driven. Then, I’d go to get it to run to kids’ swim lessons or something on the other side of town, and the battery would be dead. The keyless entry wouldn’t work since the battery was dead, and the key also wouldn’t open the door due to a dealer snafu when their mechanics replaced the door handle assembly incorrectly a few years earlier. So, I joined AAA on my phone and then called them to come help me five minutes later. They overlooked this odd coincidence and helped me out, and I’ve been a grateful member since. 

Now, we’re on our way back to the lake after some travel and again don’t have a car. Thanks to our family and some creative horse trading, I think we’ve sorted out that we’ll be driving my brother-in-law, Chris’, car while we’re in town. He’s the same one who’s been watching our maniacal (but lovable) dog Charlie while we’ve been away. His car may not be as sporty as my two door, manual transmission, faded-fire-engine-red Cavalier or as luxurious as my float-on-air LeSabre, but I sure do appreciate all he’s done for us – thanks Chris!


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