July 22, 2024

A Dear John letter … to my car

Dear John,

We need to talk. Well, I guess I need to talk – because I’m a person and you’re, well, a car.

We’ve had a great run. It’s been almost nine years. That’s by far my longest relationship. We’ve had some good times, and we’ve had some bad times. But at the end of the day, even though you’ve always been there for me, we need to break up. I’m trading you in for a younger and more attractive model.

It’s just time. I’d say it’s not you, it’s me, but that would be a lie. It’s both of us. You’re getting old and there are just things that a grown woman needs that you can’t provide. Like air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, or even working air conditioning during the long Texas summers.

And as a broke post-grad, there are just some things a two-decade-old rusty car needs that I can’t provide. Like rust remover, a new engine, or even a much-needed re-alignment.

I’m so sorry.

Kelby Wingert | The Tailgate Society

But you must have known this day would come eventually. When we met just a few weeks after I turned 16, we both must have known this couldn’t last forever. You were already a decade old by then – ancient by today’s automobile standards. I must admit, I had expected we’d make this break long ago – during college or around graduation. Holding on for so long is probably what makes this hard.

We’ve survived so much together. Driving aimlessly around Fort Dodge for hours and miles every weekend with Amanda. A handful of trips around Iowa for college visits. Weekend trips back home from college. Roundtrip from Iowa to North Carolina, where we both saw the mountains and the ocean for the first time. And, finally, the Big Move down to Texas for my first job after graduation. You must have thought it was hilarious when your A/C and heating fan went out the day we left Iowa. It wasn’t.

Kelby Wingert | The Tailgate Society

There are a lot of things I will miss about you. Like knowing just how far I can drive after the low fuel light comes on. There are also a lot of things I won’t miss about you. Like how you start shaking when I attempt to drive above 60 miles per hour on the highway.

I’m even naming your replacement after a somewhat fond memory we share. Remember that time my family and I went to spread my grandfather’s ashes and I foolishly parked downwind with your windows down? As I say goodbye to you, I’m also likely saying goodbye to part of my grandpa. So I welcome the newest addition to my family, Francis.

Before I met him, I didn’t even know odometers came with fewer than six digits.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me these past nine years, and for everything we’ve done together. It’s hard giving you up, but it’s what we both need right now.


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Kelby Wingert 9 Articles
Former Staff Writer

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