My Honda CRX
I first thought about writing an article about my car in May 1998, when, driving near
the Colorado/New Mexico border in Raton Pass, my car reached the monumental 100,000-mile mark. It has been over two years now, and finally, I am getting it done. Woo-hoo!
I remember the day I first drove it off the lot, because it was my younger brother’s birthday, March 19, 1992. I was pretty miserable back then in college and it showed. I vividly remember blasting Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails and other types of really negative music on the stereo system - tunes that distinctly reflected my rather hopeless view of life at the time.
I suppose if a car could talk, well, this car would have plenty of stories. Stories of victory, of adventure, of sorrow…you name it. In so many ways, some of the fondest memories of my life have some kind of connection to my car. Anyhow, here’s my random thoughts on my cute lil’ red Honda.
I have certainly given my cute Honda its fair share of adventure. After graduating college, I drove all around the country and finally saw the beautiful, hot deserts of the West. Yeeha! I know - it was dangerous and I could have gotten into trouble - I sped up to 126 mph on Interstate 70 in Utah. No other cars were nearby, and in the worst scenario, if I would have lost control of my car, I suppose I would have hit a cactus and maybe have popped a tire from cactus thorns. :) Hee hee…
My Honda had not always been in use. When in New Hampshire, serving with a ministry called His Mansion, there was not much of a need for a car. Finances were tight, and I did not have money for insurance or a new tire. So, for six months I managed living on a farm, where all my needs were met without requiring leaving the grounds. Well, after a really long, miserably cold and snowy winter in northern New England, I knew it was time to get my car running again. I craved the freedom. With my car still covered in snow, I went out to the area where my car was put aside, and with the help of Kevin Messmer, we jump-started the engine! What a glorious day that was.
I think I hit a cat once, ironically, after the second night of Journey, which is an amazing, experiential four-day seminar I took last year. Hitting the cat was kind of scary. The cat ran perpendicularly towards my car on Academy Boulevard and I heard a loud thump smash under the bottom of my Honda. It was really late, and I was not really that sure if it was a cat, raccoon or who knows, so I uhhhhhh, well, kept driving.
I have also had some close calls with death in my CRX, where I realized just how dangerous driving could be.
When leaving the main parking lot in college, I proceeded to make a left turn onto a main avenue after the light had clearly turned green. As I began to hit the gas peddle, a car came screeching past me, running the red light, and just grazing the front of the car. The only damage was the destruction of my front license plate. Clearly, she had run the red light.
I tell you, if I had not be aware of what was happening, I very well could have unknowingly pulled out and would have been smashed on the driver door side. Easily I could have died on impact. What is really interesting is that I had just become a Christian only about 6 months earlier, and for me, it was a wake-up call. I concluded with a thought like this: "Holy Crap! Life can be very short. Without a doubt, that was not a coincidence! God is real, and He wants me to know that."
Another memorable moment of driving in danger happened on a very isolated dirt road just outside of the Badlands on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in January 1998. I remember the moment so clearly. I was listening to Steven Curtis Chapman, blasting "We Are Not Home Yet." (What a song, by the way.) I was on a long, straight dirt road that was completely vacant of cars. I was going about 50 most of the way, but probably sped up to about 60 mph when the ruts in the road became really ingrained and I felt the tires lose some of its traction. I got worried, hit the breaks and started to fish tail, and before I knew it, I had spun around 450 degrees into a ditch on the left.
As I spun around I was certain the car was going to tumble over on its side. Well, the only damage to my car was a front tire that had come off the frame. Too dark to see what the heck I was doing to change a tire, I sat there in the bitter South Dakota cold, just hoping for someone to help me. And after about 10 minutes, someone finally did drive by and helped me out.
There is the cigar stain of the seat of the driver’s seat to commemorate and remind me of my cigar smoking days. Sharon Doyle and I would go for rides in New Jersey and talk or argue about issues of the day. I do not really smoke cigars anymore, except for really special events to celebrate.
Of course, living in New Jersey, I had "the club," a device that goes on the steering wheel to deter criminals from stealing your car. In Colorado, the need for it has lessened, although crime is everywhere really. I do have a small rip in the interior rubber-texture of the driver door from forcing the edge of the club on the inside.
My Honda CRX is a two-seater. When I got the car, I never really had many guests with me, except for rare occasions. My cute little Honda is the farthest thing from a family car, so maybe I am lucky to not be married with kids. There is a back ledge where a third person can sit with arms and legs smushed up tight. Not including kids, the only time an adult sat back there was a fun, petite Canadian woman named Bea, whom I worked with in New Hampshire.
All my life I have grown up with American models from the 1970’s and 80’s, and I grew up thinking cars were made to break down and die after 6 to 10 years or so. I think the American carmakers have lost me for life. As a child, it was embedded in my mind that cars were created to self-destruct so that people would buy new cars and thus keep business booming. The American cars my parents had were crap. Plain and simple.
It has been eight years now, since I first got my Honda CRX, and it is still running quite okay. Recently there have been some minor replacement parts needed, but all in all, there have not been any major structural or mechanical problems.
I have never liked putting bumper stickers on the outside of my car, but I have put a few on the inside of the rear windows. Here’s a list of bumper stickers I have had: Bill Clinton (Yes, I supported Clinton in 1992), Christ changed my life (after I got saved), JESUS (there was a funky rainbow in the background, had that one for years), Ovide Lamontagne for Governor (He ran in New Hampshire in 1996. He lost.), Indian Country (had a picture of North America & South America on it).
Some decorations through the years: an old King James Bible on the dashboard, a picture of the desert with saguaro cactuses on the back driver side a window, a picture of a little girl on the other, and a guy w/ glasses in front.
Also, I have a speeding ticket taped to the top corner of the driver side windshield. I got it when I was driving out of the long driveway where I lived in New Hampshire. Danny Hultgren and Steven Cartwright stopped my car, told me I was speeding, and gave me a yellow sticky-note with an ink stamp of Fred Flinstone.
What imaginative kids, what brilliance they have! Anytime someone asks me what that faded yellow piece of paper is on my inner-windshield, I proudly tell them about those amazing kids.
So it has been over eight fun years with that cute little Honda. That car has been through a lot with me, and I just had to write something down to commemorate it.
Enough about my car. Come on out to Colorado Springs and let’s hang out. Love, Steve :)
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