Friday, May 09, 2008

Poetry Friday: Putty, R.I.P.

I'm too sad to come up with a new, original post.

Our beloved Putty, 16 years old, Pontiac of our dreams, has died a sad death.

Though we knew he was elderly, we held on to hope. He was fine yesterday. When I took the girls out to lunch to celebrate the end of our school year, he was great. More than great. He zipped into town, whipped into a parking spot and waited patiently for us as we sipped Italian soda, spiced chai tea and mango smoothies. He then happily transported us to the library and again waited ever so patiently as we perused the book sale and spent too much money on books because "They're only fifty cents!"

But, when we left the library, we knew immediately that something was amiss. Betsy was the first to voice concern:

"What is wrong with this car?! He's bouncing or something!"

"Ummm," I said, "yeah ... but maybe no more than usual. Putty's just kind of bouncy." But I knew. Deep down, I knew.

We started home.

We started home six times. He faded into unconsciousness six times. We were able to revive him each time, but I knew the prognosis was dismal. I feared the worst.

And today, the news came.

"I think it's time to call the mortician," said our mechanic, Jeff (of course, you know you're already in trouble, don't you, when you're on a first-name basis with your mechanic and he's on your speed dial.)

My heart sank, but I tried to be brave. There were children in the room, after all.

"Okay, Jeff. Thank you. I'll tell Atticus .... " My breath caught in my throat. "We'll get back to you."

"Okay," said Jeff, with such sincere sympathy in his voice. He knows. Oh, how he knows the love one can have for a car named Putty. All 227,000 miles of him.

And so, tonight, I can only rerun my ode to Putty, composed about six months ago, after a near-miss. Little did we know then just how short with him was our time. Oh, what I would give to have him sent home untreated again.

But, he will not come home. Alas, poor Putty. May he rest in peace. And may our new car payment be a small one.


Putty is fifteen
and he is tired.
He flashes frightening lights at me
in an effort to get my attention.
I drop him at the local clinic
only to have him sent home,
the equivalent of taking
my sick child to the doctor
and being told
she needs only some rest.
I want him medicated
and well.
I want him for another fifteen years
(I love him so)
but know that I may
(one day soon?)
have to let him go.

Alas, poor Putty ...
a car of most infinite jest
most excellent fancy.
He has borne me on his back
a thousand times.

May it be a thousand more.
His flashing light may not
be the end?
For where there is light
there is hope.

The entire Poetry Friday round-up is at Findings.

(Updated at 8:44 a.m.: Despite my sad, self-pitying post, I know that Poetry Friday will lift my spirits. Do visit Findings at the above link for Writer2b's lovely post about mothers who read aloud.)


Patience said...

((Hugs)) I am sorry for your loss. We once had a car called Sadly - too dignified for just plain Sad - and it was like he was a member of the family, at the level of pethood anyway. So I can imagine how you must be feeling.

Jennifer said...

Oh no. I'm so sorry Karen.

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Oh, wow, I got tears in my eyes reading your post.

We have a beloved 1993 Pontiac minivan with 178,000 miles which I hope to have with us for many more miles, so I could totally relate.

Good luck on, you can't replace Putty exactly, but good luck on getting something that will work for you.

Danae said...

Oh no! Even though you will never be able to replace Putty, we will pray that you find a good, affordable car. :(

writer2b said...

My condolences. Putty lived a long and full life.

Liz said...

Generally by the time our cars die I am more than ready to move on to something new. However, when my first car was assassinated by my husband in the second year of our marriage (he drove it through a puddle that came up to the underbelly of the car) I was pretty devastated. I was even more devastated when the mechanic he sold it to in trade for a Vega managed to rehab it and I had to watch it drive around town with someone else. I dreamed about that car for years. I even dreamed that we managed to buy it back again... In fact that dream was so real that I have to really think hard to remember whether it was real or not. I really, really loved that car, in point of fact I've never had another one I liked quite as much. Since it was a Pinto I can't even count on finding an old one to be restored someday. So I definitely feel your pain. I hope you're new car is one you really like. Might I recommend a Honda Civic? That's what Jim was driving when he had the head on collision a few years back. He didn't emerge without a few scratches, but the construction of that car undoubtedly saved his life.

Heather said...

All I could think about while reading your post was this book.
May today be brighter!

sheila said...

My deepest condolences. I still have the gearstick from my old Volkswagon Type III. It was a beautiful car. I still get a tear in my eye...

Hope you pick a suitable mortician, too.

jama said...

Sorry to hear about Putty. What great memories you must have after 15 years!

Kelly Fineman said...

Alas, poor Putty.

I love your nods to the Bard in the midst of your ode. I hope you get better news somehow.

Mary Lee said...

I don't love my VW Golf with the fierceness of your love for Putty, but I do think it's highly ironic that just last night on the way home from the optician, the Golf started coughing and lights started flashing and it looks like the time for a car payment (may both yours and mine be small) has come sooner rather than later.