June 5, 2013

Direct Kick: Saying goodbye to an old friend

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It’s always hard to say goodbye. When you have been around something for any length of time, parting is such sweet sorrow.

Last week I said goodbye to a constant companion of mine for the last seven years. While it was hard, it was necessary. And it was the best for both of us.

I’m talking about my trusty 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier.

When you are a reporter, especially in sports, you become one with your car. Without reliable transportation, attending games becomes impossible. It seems like I spend more time in my car than anywhere else. It becomes a home away from home.

I bought the Cavalier in 2006. It had 99,000 miles on it. I purchased it for $3,250. Cash. I didn’t want a car payment.

During the past seven years, that car has transported me to all parts of the state. Louisville. Owensboro. Bowling Green.  Lexington. Harlan. Danville. You name a city and there’s a good chance me and my Cavalier were there. Everything from Little League All-Star games to high school state tournaments, whether it be tennis, basketball, track, softball, soccer or volleyball. Many Friday nights we were together for high school football games. In rain, snow, heat, whatever, it got me from point A to point B and back again.

Recently little things started going wrong with the car, which meant repairs. But as the mileage got higher and higher, it got to the point that I didn’t want to sink too much money into it. Last summer, I got a big crack in the windshield thanks to a passing truck. Every time I had to stop suddenly, the car would shake. The tires were going bald. And for the last few days I owned it, I think it might have been the CV joint going. Whatever it was, I’m sure it wasn’t going to be cheap to repair. And every time I got in it to travel any distance I would say a little prayer that I would make it back. And when the linkage that allows me to shift into gear recently broke I decided enough was enough.

So I bit the bullet and got me a different car. A 2006 Hyundai Accent. Black. This is the first car I have ever owned that had a CD player in it. I’ve been driving for 36 years and never had a built-in CD player. Is that sad or what?

When I traded in the old car, it had over 176,000 miles on it. So I think I got my money out of that car. I only hope the new one gives me as many good years.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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