When you pray, be careful what you pray, especially if it involves an old vehicle.
My husband, Pat, prayed twice for vehicles: once for one to reach so many miles and another to last through a child’s college graduation. As soon as the first came to the mileage goal, we drove at our own risk. The second, well, let’s talk about that one.
Old vehicle saved once
Three years ago, my son Tyler resurrected a rusty 1990 Toyota Celica, saving it from the salvage yard. (He replaced the head gasket and some other things.) We prayed it would last through his brother Isaac’s college. This last semester, we should have realized the end was imminent, but alas, we were blind or maybe just in denial.
Warning signs began earlier, but the first big alarm happened at Easter. Still, Pat figured it still had a few miles of life. It only had 257,041 miles after all.
Of course it rained when it died at a roadside rest area on Isaac’s return trip to college after the Easter break. Pat and Tyler went to rescue him, a three-hour round trip.
Two weeks later at graduation, we asked about the car. Seemed fine. At least it looked okay in the parking lot—maybe a little beat up, but what would you expect from a vehicle nearly reaching classic status in age.
Clinging to hope for old vehicle
Six days passed. Wind whipped the pouring rain in vertical sheets as Isaac sat a few blocks from campus in a restaurant parking lot at 9:30 p.m. with a dead car. Finishing one job and heading home to start a new appeared to be starting with drama, but he remained calm. Those at home—at least one—felt something other than calm.
“We aren’t driving that far this late. Is there someone you can stay with?” Three agitated people waited.
Relief came with the response. Yes, he could stay on campus. A friend picked him up.
Everyone crept into bed with some apprehension. My husband had to work in the morning. Tyler could change his plans. He needed to if the car needed repairs. A mechanic, I am not. I suppose I could have transferred all of his belongings into the van and left the other car alongside the road, but I don’t believe in being irresponsible. That car needed to limp home somehow.
Interesting trip home
Early the next morning, the brothers discussed the situation. Isaac solved the problem. Cheers filled the air at home. Tyler reestablished Plan A and disappeared out the door.
About midway in the trip, Isaac paused to cool the radiator. Blasting the heater, he continued on. A few miles from home, tension increased. Would he make it?
Busy at home, Mama remained oblivious to the exciting drive home.
Sisters yelled when the Celica coasted into the driveway, silent like his other brother’s electric car.
Details of the trip home soon emerged with the dramatic conclusion: “The car died just as I turned into the drive. At least I got home.”
Soon the college belongings lay strewn about the house. (Somehow they multiply over a school year.) I sighed. Yes, at least he was home.
No third chances
Determined not to worry, I continued with my chores. I figured my husband could figure out the problem and nurse it along while Isaac earned money to buy a dependable car. I forgot, however, about the vehicle dilemma the loss of this car created.
My husband is a talented repair man. He works miracles on aged vehicles all the time. Still, a little concern nipped my conscious. He took the Celica to work so Isaac could get to his new job. That’s when the Celica wheezed it’s last along the highway.
We should have known it was over on graduation. Hadn’t we only prayed for it to get Isaac through college? Didn’t it get him home, albeit with some stress? (Testing our patience, don’t you know?)
My mother-in-law rescued Pat since I attended piano lessons and didn’t know of the problem until later. Tyler took his truck and hauled it home.
One can never accuse us of lacking in persistence. Bless his heart; Pat continued to try to get it to run. Alas it was over for the old Celica.
It now sits at the salvage yard. Meanwhile, we search for a replacement.
In the future, I think we should pray for help in getting a replacement before the final demise. Cutting things so close like this causes my hair to gray faster!
Did you ever have a prayer with a deadline?
May all your vehicles get you where you need to be!