Love and Rocket

Since we last spoke, Meredith got sealants on her molars, we went to The Magic House, I had lunch with a friend at The Blue Owl, I met up with the high school gang for our Third Thursday gathering, I got my hair cut, I baked biscotti, I finished a freelance project, I ate some Indian food, and I had to say goodbye to an old friend.


I bought Rocket the Nissan in September of 1999 after my Honda Civic died on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. Barely one year old, Rocket had one owner before me—someone who wore artificial fingernails. (She left one in the side pocket of the driver door. I found it when I was digging for a map. It had skin on it. I’m still cringing.) Anyway, that car made it through our wedding, the move back to St. Louis, the switch from apartment to house, and the birth (and progression of car seats) of MC and Harp.

I won’t bore you with the details, but: Rocket started showing signs of death a few months back. When her “Service Engine Soon” light came on, we were told that it would cost more to fix her than what she was worth. (Stinking Death Panels! Bah!)

Last night we packed the family into Rocket and I slowly drove her (with dignity) to the dealer, where we traded her in for a Sonata. And as we drove off the lot in BluLu (Harper’s name for the new ride), I looked back at Rocket and said, “I bet Rocket is yelling, ‘Hey! Wait! Family?! Where are you going?! Hey! Don’t leave me here!!! Family?’” And then Rocket really DID seem sad. And then my eyes started watering. Stupid allergy season.

Would you please consider voting for SLLIS to receive an equipment grant that will go toward building a playground? (It’s as easy as clicking a button, and you can vote once each day until March 31.) I do love you for doing this. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

26 thoughts on “Love and Rocket”

  1. RIP, Rocket. We had a similar problem with “The Mazda” (it never did get named). There are some things on your car you can live without: radio, sunroof, fog lights. One thing that can’t go on that list is the transmission. The Mazda finally burned through its last gear in April of 2009.

    The good news is that it was replaced with The Dude. The Dude is full of personality.

  2. I know the feeling. I lost “Stella” in an accident last year — she was my first “grown-up” purchase and she took me cross country twice, so I was sad to see her go. Replaced her with a purple cousin of hers who remains nameless so far. I like the name BluLu — very cute.

  3. I hear ya. “Vannie” is currently in the shop after becoming very ill, very suddenly while traveling on the Interstate in Buffalo. Prognosis is uncertain at this time, but the noise it made as it collapsed certainly sounded expensive.

    (side notes: New York State Police troopers are very friendly, and it is indeed possible to cross the border into Canada in a tow truck. In fact, the border guards will laugh heartily at you as they wave you through. I’m assuming that he figured we had endured enough for one day without adding a secondary search to our list of woes?)

    Where was I? Oh yes. I am sorry to hear about the dissolution of your family’s relationship with Rocket, but I hope you have many years of happiness with BluLu (great name, btw).

  4. Phew, for one awful moment I thought this was goings to be about the demise of that fab red handbag!

    We sold our ’82 yellow Corolla to the new car salesman’s younger brother for $800. He drove 10 feet, stopped, wound down the window & yelled out to where we were gleefully waving goodbye to The Lemon, “does the radio work?”
    He drove off and we hastened to usher the Shiney New Silver Flash into the garage in case he came back looking for a tow and his $800. Vale, Rocket.

  5. Hey, is that a February Lady? I’m knitting my first one now!

    The Rocket story made me tear up, for serious.

  6. Oh my. I have never pictured myself as a car sentimentalist, but when I totaled our 2000 Dodge Caravan last month, the one I brought home our two babies in, I was so sad to see it go. Turns out, I was not as sad as my 6yo son, who cried and cried when we picked up the new car (Nissan Rogue) because he missed our old van. He misses the red beast more than I do.

  7. My dad loves to buy and trade cars and as a kid I’d cry every time he brought a new one home. I even made him drive by a lot once so I could see the car he’d just left behind (that we’d only had for a month when he traded it). I’m very loyal to my cars and keep them a long time. Until they become unreliable and my resentment builds at their constant neediness. And then I start shopping for NEW NEW NEW!

  8. The Magic House is one of my favorite places in the whole world. My mother is from St. Louis and we made many pilgramages there while visiting my grandparents. Ah – the three story slide. Ah – the completely dark room that you feel your way through obstacles (seriously, I would go back to St. Louis just to do that again if it is still there). We have the most amusing picture of my very blond little sister putting her hand on the big static ball – she looks like a human dandelion. Now you’ve got me all reminisc-y about St. Louis. . . .

  9. I completely understand. Our 2000 Chevy Blazer (Joe), which my husband bought brand new with only 4 miles on it, is now over 190,000 miles, and has begun a death rattle. It has been recommended we trade him in, which we will do in September (don’t ask – I’m a planner, financially speaking, so we’re taking our chances).

    My husband picked me up for our first date in that car.

    So I get it. Here’s hoping you are on your way to great new memories in BluLu (which is a fantastic name for a car – kudos to Harper!).

    I currently drive a Buick Rendezvous named Betty. Man, I love car names!

  10. How did I miss seeing this post for so long? Geez.

    No, don’t you be telling me about things like automatic “feeds” and “tweets” and all that modern hoopla. I’m mired down here in the tar pit, and planning to stay put, I tell ya! And I’ve still got my faithful 18-year-old “Thelma” to keep me company.

    Poor Rocket. It’s a sad sad day when they have to go, and I know that Thelma’s time is drawing near. I think she might have just been waiting for me to finally name her before giving up the ghost. Getting creakier and more dehydrated every day. I really need to face reality and start doing some serious research about replacement options, but oh, I will be so sad to see her go.

    Your family will build many happy memories in BluLu. She’s lucky to have found you!

    Ride on!!

  11. I feel your pain. We just traded in Gert, short for Gertrude, on Friday. We didn’t expect to be buying a new car that day, and were so in a rush to finish the paperwork, etc. due an appointment scheduled elsewhere for that afternoon, that I didn’t even really get to say good-bye to her. My husband had to reassure me later that night that Gert wasn’t sitting on some lot afraid, and sadly waiting for us to come back and get her. That car had been in my family for 12 years (5 with my mother, 7 with me), and it almost felt like I was loosing a friend. The new car is great, but its no Gert.

  12. I, too, am ridiculously loyal to cars. I’m only on my 4th in 23 years of driving and that is only because some a-hole plowed my last love. Anywho, your head and neck look very thin in that pic. Keep up the good work!

  13. You baked biscotti? Was it fabulous?

    I’m sorry about Rocket. I cried all the way to the lot when I had to turn in my beloved PigPen. Hope you and BluLu become fast friends.

  14. I teared up a bit as I drove away from my 11 year old car in new car. It was a big moment and Old Car had gotten me around for 11 years!

    Driving away from Rocket sounds like the beginnings of an excellent animated adventure…

  15. Well…I laughed when I scrolled down and saw you kissing your car…because, I did the very same thing to my first ever, brand new car this week, a silver Toyota Corolla sport edition. OK, it was a dealer demo and had a few thousand miles on it but still, the newest car I’ve ever had. I’ve been driving her all week, constantly searching the road for something cuter and than smugly not finding it, (cars exceeding my price range are dismissed from comparison, I’m practical that way) Anyhow…late last nite…as punishment for my pridefulness…I hit a pothole…and heard the awful sound of her spoilers grinding into pavement… I don’t suppose the righteous email I sent to the Department of street repairs will do any good…but it made me feel a tiny bit better. Power to the People!

  16. sorry to hear about Rocket. i will certainly cry when i finally have to give up my altima (hopefully not for a long time!).

    i hope they get the playground; i voted!

    p.s. it’s going to take awhile to get that fingernail-with-skin image out of my mind, especially because i keep my phone charger in that side pocket. thanks for that.

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