Old Blue

Let me tell you a story. That is what this space is for, yes? The main character of this story is not one of my children and it’s not my husband and it’s not me. The main character of this story is a member of the family. Sort of. This character was here before there was a Kate & Cort.

Meet Blue. Or Old Girl. Or Old Blue. Or The Blazer.

I met her in August of 2003. It was the same day I was offered my teaching position in Wyoming (that is the school district, not the state). I had had an interesting, long, challenging summer. That is a story for another time. The thing to know is that Cortney was there the whole time–as my friend. The person who made sure I was eating and leaving my house with some regularity. Anyway, he bought The Blazer the day I got my first teaching job.

He let my news overshadow his even though he was thoroughly excited about his truck. He let me gush. He let me celebrate. I also noticed, upon my first ride in her, that Cortney had taken a “K” sticker I had given him earlier in the summer (I have no idea anymore why I gave it to him) that he had in his car and moved it to his new truck. But you know, I didn’t think anything of it.

It is now in a frame by his side of the bed. Aw!

What can I say? Sometimes the rear-view mirror is clearer than the windshield.

Anyway, that was all almost fifteen years ago. Now the Old Girl has been scrubbed and shined up because it’s time. Time for a new home for her. Watching Cort polish her up brought back all the memories.

Shortly (very shortly) after Cortney brought Old Blue home, we started dating. I guess he meant what he said at that concert after all.

The Blazer became our main mode of transportation. We took it whenever we went out together anywhere. When I would see him pull up, the sight of that blue truck with the Pearl Jam Alive guy on the front gave me butterflies because I knew Cortney would be walking through the door. Shoot, it still makes my tummy flop over when I see it on the road.

We were engaged in less than eight months. That summer the Blazer took us to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, New York. The next summer it took us on our honeymoon to Myrtle Beach. We have driven to Chicago and back countless times in Old Blue. Cortney and I quickly fell in love with road tripping together. He drove, I navigated. We talked. We were quiet. We sang along to the radio. And we laughed. A lot.

Someday I’ll tell the story of those trips because they were great.

Not every trip in Old Blue was happy. She took oncologist appointments for Cortney’s dad, family prayer meetings for Cortney’s dad, and the church for Cortney’s dad’s funeral.

She also took us to that doctor’s appointment in 2007 when I found out I was pregnant. And the one where I found out I wasn’t anymore.

She took us back out to Rochester, NY to visit friends and do a little wine tour of part of the Finger Lakes. Then, in the summer of 2007, she took us out to Montana via North Dakota and home again via South Dakota. It was on that trip that Cortney had his last cigarette. He quit smoking in Old Girl which means he’s been a non-smoker for a decade.

In 2009 she carried us to the hospital as I labored with Eddie. Four days later, she carried Eddie home for the first time. She did the same for Charlie in 2012.

She has taken us camping and canoeing and cottaging. She has taken us to the beach and across bridges and through mountains both literally and figuratively.

She has been part of our marriage longer than we have been part of our marriage.

And now we are saying goodbye.

She is old. She is not as reliable as she once was. She is not big enough for all five of us to ride in at once. It’s a good thing that Cortney got a different vehicle.

But it’s weird to let something that has always been there go.

She was part of our beginning.

It’s a good thing to let those things go because it means we are trucking through this life and getting on and getting by and loving into new years of our marriage. It’s good to get to a point that you have been together longer than the stuff you’ve had.

If that makes sense.

It’s still a strange thing to let part of our beginning go, but that means we are now moving away from beginning. We are in the middle.

I think I like being in the middle.

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