To Greta: A Love Letter

Dearest Greta,

Shakespeare wrote that parting is such sweet sorrow.  You and I both know that’s a steaming pile of ripe bull patties.  There was nothing ‘sweet’ about saying good-bye to you yesterday.

You’ve been with me almost 8 years from the earliest days of my retirement.  During that time you enthusiastically shared my wanderlust and helped fuel a boundless joie de vivre I didn’t know I had in me.

2017 – Bluffer’s Park

We’ve travelled together far and wide on open highways, crowded city streets, and small country roads that were more of a suggestion than a reality.  

You were there with me on my biggest adventures – carrying my bike, or my golf clubs, or my hiking gear.  Had we stayed together, we would have eventually figured out how to carry a kayak too …. without resorting to ugly roof racks.  

I wouldn’t have done that to you.

2016 – Wyevale

Remember the time the car dealership was horrified when I admitted we had been off-roading together?  It wasn’t intentional – sometimes trying to find the trail just lead us into unexpected places.  

We’ve travelled dirt roads, rocky roads, through mud, and potholes the size of small planets.  We’ve seen good weather, bad weather, and the god-awful – although admittedly, getting you stuck in a foot of wet snow in an isolated forest “parking lot” wasn’t one of my proudest moments.

Nor was scraping your glossy exterior against a brick wall – twice.  I’ve apologized profusely for those transgressions.  Thankfully the damage was minor in both instances and could be buffed out with some effort.

I hope you will like your new family.  They seem like very nice people, although I suspect you won’t be going on any more adventures like the ones we’ve shared.  

Nor do I think they will ever spent a night with you, curled up in the back in a sleeping bag, staring out of your sunroof at the stars above.  

2015 – Haliburton Forest

Ahhh – so many good times.

I will miss your elegant strength and grace.  I will miss your lusty growl when you accelerate.  I did love your throaty purr and effortless speed.

Be well, my dear friend.  I wish you a long and healthy life.

Sharing a final hug.

I miss you already.

Love always ❤️

106 comments

  1. Since we left the US about ten years ago I have not owned a car. And when I get in one, instead of getting in a tuk tuk or on our motor scooter it always feels like pure luxury. Its all relative I guess.

    So are you moving on to bigger and better, or downsizing, or joining us on a motor scooter?

    Peta

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    • Oh Peta – I would LOVE to have a scooter, but living in Toronto doesn’t make it very practical – or wise. I value my life 😉

      As long as Gilles continues to work, he will have a company vehicle in addition to his own. Since mine was the oldest vehicle, it made sense to let it go. Three vehicles for 2 people doesn’t make any sense and I resisted it for a long time.

      So for now, I drive a much bigger vehicle than I’m used to. It’s not something I would ever pick for myself, and to me it’s just transportation. No bonding happening – at least yet 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww… Greta is a beauty. What wonderful chapters you two filled.
    So, Joanne, who is your next travel companion? Will you be foster mom to the Highlander? Definitely a “he” name needed. Maybe Connor (as in “Connor MacLeod of the clan MacLeod”)… or “WUTK” for “What’s under that kilt?” Maybe Wuk for short. 😀 There can be only one! … Okay… I’ve lost it. Mega hugs

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      • Oh, but it is so practical! This is the third one I have owned. My first was a 4WD Cherokee when we lived in the woods in Michigan. Perfect in the snow, perfect for off-roading, we could but the canoe on top, it hauled our camper, and was perfect on a road trip. We then inherited a Grand Cherokee, which was super comfy and plush…and perfect for bringing our newborn home from the hospital! It wasn’t practical on trails, just because it was so fancy schmancy, but it actually could have handled it. Jeepie McJeepface is my city Jeep. She is only 2WD, which is fine because you don’t need 4WD in Houston. She is comfy for road trips and commuting. She does well on flooded roads, although I try to avoid them! Lots of space for hauling the random machinery that becomes a part of our lives as boaters. There is nothing more practical than a Jeep!

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  3. Joanne, The thought of sleeping in the car, looking out the sunroof at stars is quite compelling! Now I wish I had a sunroof. I just got rid of my Subaru after 12 years…and no I never named her. Yet, I named my new car immediately! How odd is that? (Goldie, BTW)

    My fav car however was my 30-yr-old mid-life crisis car… a red Mazda Miata 2-seater convertible. It was after we moved and I had highway miles to drive everyday with 18 wheeler trucks that she was sold. (safety first) I still miss her…and no she didn’t have a name either. And yes, she was also a she!

    Loved your post, made me smile. And reminisce, obviously.

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    • I’ve had several cars over the years, but only 2 ever got a name – and it wasn’t exactly intentional. Their names just ‘came’.

      It’s also odd how some cars ‘attach’ themselves to us and become a living part of our story at that time in our live. Your little red Miata sounds exactly like one of those 🙂

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  4. My husband is a Car Guy, so while we have downsized the fleet in the last few years, we still have 6 vehicles! I’ll never give up my 2004 Pt Cruiser – but I have insisted on a ‘2 out, 1 in’ replacement plan for him!

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  5. So many great adventures with Greta! I hope you have as many and more with the replacement vehicle, whatever you name him or her. I’ve not named my Hyundai, as I’d rather think of him as a mystery who takes me in his arms at will, looks soulfully in my eyes, and carries me off to work five days a week. 😉

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  6. Aw, g’bye Greta! Sounds like you gave her a great life while she was yours.
    I have loved all my cars, but not any of my vans. I was grateful, but never loving with the vans. 😉
    I took a Highlander from my home here to Georgia in 2006. I liked it. It was a bit big for me, but not completely unwieldy.
    I think my next car will be another crossover, but something smaller and closer to the ground than I’ve got now.

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    • You and I share the same feelings about vans. I drove one for 5 years when the boys were young and hated, hated, hated it. It was just too big for my liking.
      Although the SUVs are easier to handle, I still prefer a smaller car closer to the ground. Crossovers are a good compromise.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed this immensely…why is it that we name our cars? Greta, ole girl, shared in your transition to a new phase so I can see she has a place in your heart. I wonder if she knows she has been voted off the island and why.
    Smiles,
    Nancy

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    • It is a rather odd habit of naming inanimate objects 🙂 … however it does give them a personality and place in the family.

      I didn’t really appreciate how much attachment I had to this vehicle until it was time to let her go. I’ve never felt this way before about a car and I think you’re right – it’s because she was part of this big translation from career to retirement.

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    • It’s silly, I know, but our cars are so important to us!! Good luck with your new car shopping. I find that it takes me FOREVER to make a decision. They are big ticket items and there’s always the fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision and having to live with it for a long time.

      Long May You Run is an excellent theme song for a car 😆

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no – we could never survive with 1 vehicle. I don’t share well 😉
      Gilles has 2 vehicles so it didn’t make sense to keep Greta which was the oldest of the 3 cars.

      Once he stops working and no longer has a company car, I’ll have to buy a new vehicle but until then, I will be driving something much bigger than I would like.

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  8. Ha ha. I thought this was going to be a really sad post and then broke out into a smile. My family (dad in particular) has owned many Greta’s over the years, though his end up having to be towed out of washed-out stream beds and steep gulches miles from civilization. He he. I assume you have a new car, Joanne. One that perhaps can handle a kayak?

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    • omg – that would be a nightmare scenario for me – getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere … or arriving back at my car and discovering my keys are missing 😱

      Sadly, I’m not getting a new car 😒 Gilles has 2 vehicles, one of them a company car. It didn’t make sense to carry the expense of 3 cars for 2 people and since Greta was the oldest, she was the one that got sacrificed. I dodged this bullet for a couple of years but it was time. Now I have to adjust to driving a much bigger vehicle. I’m going to miss my zippy little car.

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  9. Good one, Joanne! Was it Greta Garbo that said, I’ll be back?; could be wrong on early actresses as I only came around in the 50s. Hope Greta knows that loose lips sinks ships and doesn’t give up your secrets that you shared. My Lexy has been with me 18 yrs but still less than 100k miles cause I only took it out on weekends or vacations but it has dings and age related issues popping up just like me.
    Once you get to that dream destination you’ll forget an imposter got you there. Happy Trails, to Greta and where the road takes you next!

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    • Wow – another person who’s had a car for a VERY long time! I feel so fickle in comparison. Greta was the longest vehicle relationship I’ve ever had.
      It’s true that the age related issues are the most concerning. I will not be replacing her – at least for a while. I think that’s part of the sadness. It’s the first time in about 40 years I haven’t had my own car. It feels …. wrong 😏

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  10. Wonderful tribute to Greta. I love my little car, although I haven’t felt the urge to gender or name it. We’re also a two person three car household — but we have three motorbikes as well 🤔

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  11. Love this! I know what you mean as I think of parting with my “Greta” in the not too distant future. She is getting up there in age but she’s still putting forth a good effort to keep going!

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  12. My current car is ten years old now, and I keep on saying that we need a smaller car for the narrow lanes in Cornwall, but she is such a comfortable car and no problem. Plus having seen all the computerised gizmos in new models I am afraid I wouldn’t even know how to operate one! She is called Elsie on account of her registration beginning LC. My previous car was Smurf and my first one George. Smurf was my fun car – bright metallic yellow and I did a lot of miles in her. I came late to driving but I couldn’t imagine being without a car.

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    • It’s funny how people are divided into 2 camps – those who had a close relationship with one or more of their cars vs those who thought of them as only transportation.

      Greta was the car that travelled the Bruce Trail with me. We spent a lot of time together exploring all those back roads. I will always think fondly of those trips.

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  13. Ah, what a lovely tribute to Greta. I have let one car go and cried about in my life, and I may do it again when it’s time to let go of Pearl.

    I hope you come to enjoy the Highlander and make some wonderful memories together with your adventures.

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  14. Sounds like you & Greta formed a wonderful bond as you struck out on your adventures together. May she find many more with her new family! Do you have new wheels???

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    • I don’t, Lynn. For now, I’m driving Gilles’ car since he also has a company car from work. That was part of the reason for this change. It really didn’t make sense to have the cost of 3 vehicles and Greta was the oldest.
      I resisted this change for a long time, but I had to eventually face up to it 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I always become emotionally involved with my cars, we spend so much time together, how can you not? It’s sad when it’s time to say good-bye. Your tribute to Greta is wonderful– and heartfelt. Long may she roll wherever she goes next.

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  16. I never had a connection to any other vehicle than my first banged up VW, everything else after that was just transportation. Soon there will be a new and shiny new vehicle waiting for you in the garage and the German Greta will be just another vehicle you once owned.

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    • My experience was the opposite. I didn’t have a strong connection to any vehicle until Greta. I think it’s a reflection of the time in my life and she is wrapped in those memories 💕 It’s unlikely that it’s an experience that can be repeated.

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  17. Some cars are hard to part with, I understand. I felt this way about my red pickup truck. However, it was clearly time to set that one free. Greta is the name I gave my first (and all subsequent) GPS. I’m not sure I can not have a Greta. I hope you can manage in a car not of your choosing, I think Highlanders are meant for off-road. Give it a whirl. Bring it home with mud stains above the mirror line and see how long it is before you guys rethink the math on cars 😉

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    • HAHAHAHAHA!! omg – Gilles would have an embolism if I ever took the Highlander off-roading … and I would have to take it to a car wash before I went home to remove the evidence of mud stains 😀 😀
      I’m surprised he lets me drive it at all!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I was thinking Oh, no, her dog/cat/other beloved animal …!

    I once wrote an ode to my travel partner, too – a big black beast of a machine that topped out at well over 200,000 miles. I moved on when her age hinted at bigger expenses, buying a smaller version in crisp white. I drive this one all over the place also, and I’ve come to admire her relative zippiness, but I still sometimes miss the size and power of my old gal! Enjoy your new friend.

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    • Isn’t it funny how we get so attached to our vehicles? In university I once wrote a paper about cars being an extension of our personality. I didn’t own a car at the time and it was in part intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but since then I’ve become a firm believer in its truth.

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  19. My Silver Streak died on a road out of town and had to be towed and sold out of state. Getting all my personals out of the car was ridiculous. My husband could not believe what a mess I was. A car is such a personal thing. I feel your pain. Have a good life, Greta.

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    • It’s true!! Our cars are very personal and I was quite emotional this week. Greta had become a significant part of my life style since I had retired and as a result my relationship with her was quite different than any of my other previous cars.

      I’m confident she has gone to a good home so I guess I can be happy 🙂

      Having said all that, I would not be happy to have my car die on a road trip. Talk about stress levels jumping through the roof!!!

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    • Ahhh – then I did a good job 😉

      Funny you should mention about taking pictures … I realized as I was writing this post that in fact I had very few photos of Greta and no photos at all of previous vehicles. It’s one of those things I guess I never thought to do … so there I was in the driveway trying to take a last photo or two before she was picked up.

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    • I haven’t replaced her – and I think that’s part of the problem. I don’t have an incoming car to capture my heart and this is the first time I haven’t had my own car in almost 40 years.

      It’s a bit of a long story, but I’m going to be driving my husband’s vehicle – a Toyota Highlander – which I don’t particularly like. It’s too big and drives like a boat. We don’t agree on this point – he LOVES his car – but he also has a company car – a Nissan Rogue. Having 3 vehicles in a 2 person household wasn’t making any sense and Greta was the oldest of the 3 vehicles and the priciest to maintain so she got voted off the island 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Greta is beautiful, and has aged gracefully. My Beatrice (x3) is 11 years old and has traveled with me through CA, north and south, then cross country, and now here in NE, where she braves the snow/ice/sleet/ with aplomb. I just put a sh*$ load of money in her to give her another hopefully 2 or 3 good years. She appreciates your appreciation for Greta.

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    • Greta was a great car and I thought she was beautiful. Unfortunately, her maintenance bills started to become a little too pricey for my comfort and I could envision it only getting worse.
      Yesterday was not a happy day for me … but her new family were really excited when they came to pick her up. So I have to be thankful for that 🙂

      … and I glad that you love your car enough to have given her a name 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really do feel anthropomorphic about Beatrice. She looks out for me. But I look out for her – just spent (gasp) a lot to keep her chugging, I look forward to reading a post about your new car and HER name.

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        • Yes, I too tend to give inanimate objects personalities 😏 … we’ve normal, right?!

          I won’t be replacing Greta for a while. We’ve been a 2-person household with 3 cars for a couple of years and I finally agreed to bite the bullet and let Greta go … the oldest of the ‘fleet’.
          Neither of my husband’s vehicles are ones I would have chosen. so it will be interesting to see how I ‘adapt’ – ie, hopefully with grace and a minimum of whining. I always start off with good intentions 😁

          Liked by 1 person

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