By Joe Rector

Well, the day finally arrived. I gave in and purchased another vehicle. Doing so was a difficult decision because I struggle with the idea of having to make a car payment. However, times arrive in life when such actions must be taken.

I bought a “new old car.” Ever loyal to Nissan, I chose a 2011 Pathfinder. It has plenty of miles from the previous owner, but otherwise, the vehicle is in good shape for a car so old. Amy and I don’t buy new cars for several reasons. One is that we can’t afford new cars, nor can I justify paying more for a car than I did my first house. (Yep, I’m old.) The second reason is that new cars lose so much value the moment they leave the lot. Many times, a used car has been drive long enough to work out the bugs so that it can be a more reliable one with a few miles on it. The third reason for buying the car is that I’m tired of dropping into and climbing out of the Nissan Sentra that I now drive. I need something that allows me to either sit straight into it or step up just a little to enter the car without having to promise an arm or a leg.

I’m passed the excitement that comes with a new car, including a new used one. It’s a thing and a means to move from one spot to another. If I fail to get one car I like, I don’t fret much anymore because another one will come around before long. Oh, I like having something to drive that’s a bit more up to date, and I only require three options on a vehicle: electric mirrors, intermittent wipers, and a working radio. All the other gadgets are nice to have, but not necessary.

I’ll sell my 2012 Sentra at some point. It only has 56,000 miles on it, and the car is perfect first vehicle for a teenager or a second car for a family. I will keep my other car. My 1987 Nissan Pathfinder stays parked under the carport. It’s one vehicle we bought new, and we added a back seat, radio, and air conditioner at later times because it was cheaper to do so. Over the last 31 years, my old Pathfinder has traveled to hundreds of baseball games and has pulled a trailer filled with mulch, flooring, and building materials. The inside shows the wear of so many trips and years. The arm rests are split, and the dash is now covered with a material to hide the deep crevices in the vinyl. Charlie Muncey, our hero mechanic, worked hard to fill in the rusted out areas under the back seat. The air conditioner and radio no longer function, and sometimes the engine runs too rich.

Even though that old car has more than its share of problems, I can’t let it go. In fact, my son just a couple of weeks ago implored me not to sell the old Pathfinder because it is so much a part of the family.

I’ll enjoy driving an updated Pathfinder that has plenty of bells and whistles and three rows of seats. The worries of arriving on trips out of town won’t linger as they did when I drove the old car. Still, I’ll take my favorite vehicle when I need a load of mulch or want to haul a load of materials. We have too much history to just part ways so quickly. Wave at me if you see me in either of my Pathfinders. I’ll be the guy driving down the road with a smile on his face.