Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Old Friends Need Special Treatment

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Old Friends Need Special Treatment

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

It was an amazing moment on Interstate 16 somewhere around Soperton.

Vonette and I were tooling along at or about the speed limit when I gripped her knee like a man who spotted an ice cream truck running a 15-cent special on Haagen-Dazs bars. The only things ahead were pine trees and a dark storm cloud.

"Get ready," I said.

A split second later, parallel bolts of lightning shot down, impressing my wife of 25 years, who previously thought she was aware of all my skills.

"How did he know that was going to happen?'' she wondered.

But I didn't care about the impressive lightning and at exactly the proper moment, I screamed, "200,000 miles!''

While the lightning was dancing, I wanted to make sure that I saw the important milestone for my Nissan truck. But is milestone the right word? Was it an odoversary or a new mile-ennium?

Vonette and I were headed to Berry College in Rome to move Jessica home for the summer. I had thought about using my Volkswagen camper van for the move. That would have accomplished the following: With all the rain in the forecast, the camper would have kept Jessica's belongings dry. And the yellow 1984 Westfalia Hippy/Deadhead Condo on Wheels would also have embarrassed my child into therapy.

But knowing the Nissan truck would hit 200,000 miles on a stretch of open road convinced me otherwise.

I didn't want the odometer to hit five zeroes on Altama Avenue in Brunswick, where the traffic lights are like politicians. Once they take a position, they just never seem to change. I didn't want it to trip over on the way to work on the St. Simons causeway, amid 300 tailgating teenagers.

Regardless of where it happened, I've kept this truck too long. Weird, isn't it? If you have a vehicle with under 100,000 to 150,000 miles, you can find enough things wrong to get rid of it. …

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