Delano

Perhaps it’s the years and the miles.

Size Does Matter

So does price and functionality.  The tangle of emotions connected to an object may be measured by the pain or ecstasy the recollection generates, but likewise the length and breadth and impact of a single, sizable object may likewise generate a wealth of memories.  Case in point: Delano.  Delano was the first brand new car I bought with my very own farthings.  Every penny spent on car payments, gas tank refills, and routine maintenance added to its value.  I picked it out, I swooped in with delicious financing, and I slapped a personalized plate on him and branded him my own.  Delano may have looked like a 2006 silver Saturn Vue, but his actual role, his place in the universe, was my ticket to everywhere.

I want to tell you all about him, what he did for me, how he changed my life, the places he took me, the bargain we made with each other that day in Montana, and how we spent our last night together.  I want to recall the day I parked him outside San Jose and walked away in tears, even if it still tears me up (yes, both ripping apart and streaming down my cheeks definitions of the verb).  Those pains, those difficulties, and believe it or not, those amazing experiences and mind-blowing views and vistas we traversed all hold detailed, carved out spaces in my mind, and for better or for worse, they interweave with the story of my life, and they will be shared.  Delano hauled my life, sometimes even strapped onto his luggage rack, sometimes when his back seat was completely empty, and he deserves every one of those nooks and crannies.

His Infancy

I’m going to tell you a story about an inanimate object.  My beloved Delano began his life in October 2005, but we didn’t meet until the following summer.  In the end, we would spend more than thirteen years together.  And quite literally, as the movie says, “It’s not the years, it’s the miles.”  In the end, with more than 260,000 miles behind us, we lived full, brimming, overflowing-all-over-the-floor experiences that felt strangely akin to a best friend – if you believe in that sort of quality in a soulless composite of twenty-first century machinery.  Trust me, this SUV knew it was loved.

I wish I remembered more details of those early days.  I remember our first outing together – we went to the post office – even though it was more of a “test errand,” until I signed the paperwork a couple weeks later.  I don’t recall how many miles Delano had on his odometer when I brought him home, although a few of them were from our postal excursion.  If I had to guess, I’d say at least fifty, maybe seventy, but I’d just be guessing.  That first time we met, that was when he received his name.  His chrome features on his dash reminded me of the early twentieth century and the art deco that glistened and shined, like my shiny new companion.  I never considered another name, he was born Delano, and he’ll always be my long-serving public servant, even if I owned him longer than his namesake’s presidential tenure.  He changed my history and he’ll always have my heart.