Writer’s Workshop: Basic Transportation

Almost a dead ringer for mine

I read the prompt, and I’m fully aware that I was supposed to talk about my first car, but for some reason I don’t think I gave my second car enough love, so I’m going to rectify that now.

My first car, a 1984 Chevy Cavalier, gave me nothing but trouble after I got it to Atlanta. It broke down on I-75 as I was going to work one day, the transmission totally shot. After two weeks, I had the car back, drove it another three months, and it developed transmission trouble again, as I was on my way to work. Mary was at her mother’s in Chicago, so after I got the car home, I called her and told her what had happened, and that I was on my way out to buy a new one. A couple of friends of ours, Cheryl and Mike, came by and picked me up, and we were off to Cobb Parkway, where all the car dealers are nearby.

I checked out a couple of places, and they were willing to sell me much more car than I wanted to buy for a lot more money than I wanted to spend. Finally we ended up at a Dodge dealer. A salesman came up and asked what I was looking for, and I said "Basic Transportation." He said "I got just what you need. I’ll be right back."

A couple of minutes later, he drove up in a red Dodge Omni. He hopped out and said "What do you think?" I said "that’s just what I’m looking for!" I gave it a test run around the block, and saw that the one luxury feature it had was an FM radio. My Cavalier only had an AM. SOLD!

It wasn’t a "great" car, but it got me to and from everywhere I wanted to go. More importantly, it didn’t give me a hard time. I spent a bunch of money one time getting the wheels aligned and having other maintenance being done. The next week, I drove almost 1000 miles to and from Ringgold, Georgia to conduct a couple of training classes, and made enough money in mileage to cover the repairs and the gas for the week.

Mary and I made a Marriage Encounter one weekend, and I got a decal that I put on the back window. Soon after, I started traveling almost every week for my job, and my Omni took me to the airport and waited patiently all week for my return. The Marriage Encounter decal was always a welcome sight on Friday evenings after I had been gone all week. It was a way that I knew I was almost home.

A woman I worked with and I were talking about cars, and she raved about her Honda Accord so much that I had to see for myself. I went to a dealership, and before I knew it I was driving a brand new Accord off the lot, leaving my Omni behind. I didn’t look back…

One Sunday, I drove to the airport, and just inside the gate of the parking lot I saw a red Omni with a Marriage Encounter decal in the back window, wearing the same license plate I had left on it. Something told me to get out of the car and say hello. I left the Honda running and got out to look. They had touched up the paint around the keyhole and fixed the spot on the driver’s seat where I had worn off the leatherette getting in and out of it. But, yeah, it had been my car, and yeah, I was happy to see it, and I’d like to think it was happy to see me, too…

(It was the law in Georgia at the time that the license plate stayed with the car instead of going with the owner. That was explained to me by the guy at the Honda dealer who had sold it to its new driver. In case you were wondering…)

14 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Basic Transportation

  1. How neat that you got to run into your old friend again! I definitely get attached to cars that serve me well and don’t leave me stranded on a freeway! That kind of behavior gets old real fast!


  2. Loved your story about your 2nd car. My 1st car was a 76 Astre followed by a 1973 Ambassador and then a 1970 Ambassador…I didn’t want the 3rd car bit my dad bought it for me for $400. It had to be bondoed together and I still drove that bucket for 5 yrs.


  3. I traded in my Infinity when I bought my Element and about seven years later, I saw it around town. They had never taken the Rob Zombie sticker off the back, which was quite amusing.


  4. Of course Omni was happy to see you! (I hope my Chrysler LXi stayed as dead as I’d been told it was…) My 1st car was a Rambler, lol, but my car before overpaying for this current toy-like one so reminiscent of a convent car, was a ’99 Cav that could do ANYthing. How I miss it utterly conquering snow, ice, drifts, u name it! Great sound system throughout! Chevys are built too close to the salt pile aka New England winter roads, tho, and the welding of rust became a terminal affair in 2014. I am uncool, now. Meh, at least this Sentra runs alright.🤞


    1. Mary took her father’s car, which wasn’t getting driven and he had no business driving anyway because he had macular degeneration. It had seen all the winter Chicago could throw at it, and by the time we got it here we practically had to junk it. His was a Grand Marquis…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice post! My first car was a 1977 Volkswagen Golf, aka Rabbit here in the U.S.

    By the time I got it, it was roughly 9 years old. The car pretty much turned out to be a complete disaster – it had corrosion all over the place that had been painted over! It only ran about 80 mph maximum speed since the engine wasn’t in great shape. I had a car guy clean the cylinders which had some scale buildup. That turned my VW almost into a Porsche, increasing the maximum speed by a whopping 10 miles!😆

    And yet despite all its problems and the fact that I was patching up corrosion or trying to fix something every other weekend, I loved that car! It brought me from point A to point B most of the time. Plus, there’s just something special about your first car!


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