My husband and I have a tradition of naming our cars.
It officially began when I first met my husband, who at the time owned a white Ford Escort (I was a carless cyclist). Though we hardly knew each other at the time, he loaned it to me while he was away for Thanksgiving (an omen of good things to come.) I was given only two instructions: 1. Talk sweet to her. 2. She likes to be called “Abby.”
Growing up, my parents had a more offhanded approach. My mother, when coaxing a temperamental vehicle, would always refer to it as “Nelly Bell” with plenty of affectionate encouragement, no matter if it were our rusty old pick up or our little Mazda GLC.
To my father, any vehicle that was acting up always earned a moniker that began, “Son of a…”
But my husband and I like to acknowledge each car’s individuality. Maybe it’s our writers’ minds seeing character everywhere: the thrill of anthropomorphization (How often does one get to work that word into a post?). When Abby gave up the ghost we bought another Escort, this time forest green and named “Bonnie.” She’s been a good girl, taking us up and down the West Coast and across the continent to a new life in the South. But since our fourth baby was born, Bonnie, who seats only five, bless her heart, just hasn’t been big enough.
Therefore, to visit my husband’s relatives last Thanksgiving (now I get to come too!) we had to rent a van. An Uplander, it was a sweet ride and I got quite attached to it. Within hours of pulling out of the rental agency we named him “Carl” and he made a ten hour roadtrip with four kids actually enjoyable.
Now we must get a grip, stop our small car idealism and purchase a van. In case you hadn’t noticed the pattern, we’ve been naming in alphabetical order, so our next set of wheels must be D-something.
I pondered for days and finally came up with the perfect name: “Dixie.” Friendly. Sweet. Acknowledges the Southern community we are now a part of.
And best of all, until we finally find her, we can appropriately sing… “Well I wish I was in Dixie!”
(No offense, Bonnie!)