During our two year transition time between retirement and moving down to Phoenix, one of us has been making a point of getting to the Phoenix house every six weeks or so. When it’s my turn, I tend to get more quiet time to write. The time to move is getting close at hand and as such, I am facing the fact that I will soon be selling the best vehicle we ever owned; my 2001 Ford Escape. One of my sons has expressed an interest, so maybe I’ll get to keep it in the family.
We really didn’t need three vehicles when we both were working but my wife just loves to feel young, (don’t we all), and owning a sports car helps her to feel that way. Like most loving husbands, I am weak for my wife and so we own a sports car. When neither of us will be working, we really won’t need two cars, let alone a third, so something has to go. Even reliable cars cost money for upkeep and when you get to that stage of life where you’re facing a fixed income, you have to be very smart with your money – vehicles are a drain on the budget.
This story’s not about selling a car or even about the ‘golden years’. No, my being in Phoenix and driving my Escape is reminding me what a great vehicle this has been. It’s not a fast car, being a four cylinder, manual transmission small engine SUV. I never got a speeding ticket driving this car, probably because it can’t break the speed limit. 🙂 Just kidding, I really just never drove this car fast. I guess I thought I preferred preserving the engine and the better gas mileage I got from driving slower, (not forgetting that it’s a light SUV that could roll pretty easily).
I haven’t always driven slower though or been as observant of the speed limit as I have been the past twenty years or so. When I received a speeding ticket while living in Louisiana, I got to find out just how different some areas of the country can be.
We moved to Louisiana in 1989. I was working for P&G at the time, (Pack and Go). We lived on the Alexandria side of the Red River and the plant I worked at was located on the other side, on the edge of a town called Pineville. For lunch, sometimes I liked to head up the road to bring back some fried catfish, (Louisiana has the best fried fish in the world). I didn’t like taking much time for lunch so I guess I was driving a bit fast when I saw those dreaded flashing blue lights behind me – speeding ticket, Ball, Louisiana.
I don’t remember who got home first that day, me or my wife, but in shame I had to tell my wife that I got a speeding ticket today, over in Ball. Speeding tickets were very expensive in Louisiana so I wasn’t looking forward to paying that one off. Very calm and cool, my wife asked, “you want me to get it fixed?”
Kim – Do you want me to get it fixed at work? One of the police can fix it for me. The girls at work say they do it for us all the time.
Me – what do mean by “fix it”, what do they do?
Kim – they take the ticket and then bring it back as something else like a broken headlight or something like that
Me – and I won’t get into any trouble. Are you sure about this?
Kim – that’s what they say
Me – ok, here…I guess…I don’t know about this
About three days later, Kim came home from work and handed me my ‘new’ ticket. Apparently I had parked my car in a No Parking location and owed the county ten bucks.
Check the records – no speeding ticket for me in Louisiana. I guess it really does pay off to know people in high places (ahem, my wife).
Oh, one final note – my wife, being an experienced ex-ER Nurse, has informed me that if need be, she can cause my death and make it look like an accident….no one can fix that.
Documenting this so just in case you see these stories stop, please reach out and contact the authorities.