The night my parents arrived for my college graduation weekend was hectic and rushed. After dinner, I asked my mom to drop my roommate and me off at our house instead of their hotel 2 blocks away. She brushed me off, saying something about how my dad wanted to tell me goodnight.
We had been milling around the hotel parking lot for about a minute when I noticed a car nearby with a giant bow on it.
“Wow, someone’s parents bought them a car,” I said, apprising the giant bow. “Can you believe that?” It even had William and Mary license plates. The affluence of some people!
As I continued to be impressed, the lights flickered and the car emitted a beep. I looked around for its owner, thinking, “Crap, someone just heard me talking about them!”
When my dad held out the keys, I don’t think I’d ever been so surprised in my life. After my excitement calmed down, my mom clarified that the new car was not actually new car, and was used. She continued on to say that it was actually a funny story how they got it—the car belonged to dead Pastor Bruce.
Yeah, you read that right. My car belonged to dead Pastor Bruce, my grandparent’s pastor who died about 6 years ago. My brothers tried to convince me that Pastor Bruce died in the car, but fortunately I knew the real story.
When my grandfather retired, he took up working for his church as the caretaker of the grounds, and he and my grandmother formed a close relationship with Pastor Bruce. Bruce didn’t have much of a social life, and only racked up about 35,000 miles on his car before dying in his armchair from weight-related health problems.
His sister Julie inherited his property, and took a long time before deciding to sell, only coming to check on his house and car a couple times a year. Ironically, my grandfather got the car inspected this year! When Julie decided to sell the car, she asked my grandparents if they knew anyone who might be interested.
After hearing my parents wanted to buy it for me, she reportedly remarked that “Oh, Bruce would be so happy about this. I’m sure he is smiling down on the transaction!” (I occasionally sang at my grandparent’s church when I was younger, and my kid’s community theater group performed there, so I knew Bruce).
Now, some people may think the story is morbid (my college roommate and my boyfriend for example). But I think gives my car character. I promptly named my new car Bruce, and gave it a catchphrase: “Have a blessed ride!”. Bruce (the car) is like the Popemobile, but Presbyterian! And also I’m not famous, or a religious figure. But to me, the history of the car seems lucky.
But lucky or not, my mom said it best when she told me “It should get you through to when you’re someone else’s problem!”