“Honey,” I said to my husband, Bob, “it’s time to say goodbye.”


Sniffling, he said, “But I think she has six more months in her.” (Bob refers to our truck as a “she.” He’s actually named it—Connie.)

I gently brushed a tear from his cheek.

“Yes, but what kind of quality would that life be? She can’t go anywhere without needing to stop every 20 minutes. It’s like driving with your grandmother.”

Bob leaned against our 14-year-old Chevy truck and tenderly cleaned white-colored heaven-knows-what from the side mirror by using the tee shirt he was wearing. He cooed, “Looking good, Con.” He was in the first stage of grief: denial.

I said, “We pay our mechanic as much as our mortgage payments.” I held his hands. “She’s had a long, happy life, sweetheart.”

Wistfully, he said, “Remember the camping trips we took?”

“Yes, Bob, I remember.”

“I was talking to Connie.”

“Bob, right now Connie would die with dignity.”

Our truck’s windows don’t work. It makes a ba-boop, ba-boop sound nobody can fix.

It didn’t pass inspection because, unbeknownst to us, the back lights stay in the flasher mode.

The gas gauge is fixed at zero, leaving fill-ups just a random guess.

He blocked me from the truck. “You can’t take her. It’s not her time yet.” The second stage of grief: anger.

“Do you need some kind of a sign?” Knowing what would happen, I put the driver’s seat window down—where it stayed—never to go up again.

He said, “I want to give her more time. Three months?” The bargaining stage.

That night, I found him looking through old photos of the truck (the fourth stage: depression) in which we were four-wheel driving on the beach, getting stuck in the sand at the beach, being towed at the beach.

I sat with him. “It’s her time, Bob.”

“I know.” Acceptance stage. “She’ll need a memorial service. We’ll invite her mechanics.”

“Then we’ll need to rent out the stadium.”

Eventually, we wound up leasing a car and letting go of Connie.

When we pulled out of our driveway in the new car, we looked back and saw the truck. Bob was sobbing. Yet he quickly became enthralled with all the gadgets in the new car.

He pulled over to grab the 645-page manual. He reads that manual like it’s a Robert B. Parker novel.

He reads it over breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

He reads it while he’s cooking, while he’s in bed, while he’s on the phone.

He gets super excited telling me about the gadgets as my eyes glaze over with “I don’t care” disinterest. He spends an insane amount of time on a website: MyCarDoesWhat.org.

And so, the happy ending to letting Connie go? When it comes to men like Bob, gadgets trump old trucks.

Nationally syndicated, award-winning columnist Saralee Perel can be reached at sperel@saraleeperel.com or via her website: www.saraleeperel.com.

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