Goodbye, Big REd

My most delightful coworker told me a very funny story the other day about the demise of her beloved red Honda van. It must date from 2000 or so, and has a gazillion miles on it. She has kept it going far longer than the mechanics or her husband thinks she should have. For a while , she could only get it into gear by sticking a screwdriver in the top of the steering wheel. She just had new tires on it and planned to keep driving it, when she started to have trouble with the horn.

My friend told me that she was on her way to a home visit for a client when she parked in front of the house, turned off the engine, and opened the door. The horn started honking and wouldn’t stop. She phoned her husband in a panic. He told her to drive the car a couple of blocks and see what would happen, She did, and the honking stopped until she again turned off the engine and opened the door. She tried starting, driving, parking, and stopping four more times. By the final attempt the honking wouldn’t stop at all, and she drove across town with her horn honking until she got home and her husband disconnected some cable. She said she was so embarrassed driving like that, as other drivers were pulling over and letting her pass as she drove by. Many waved at her in recognition, and others started following her to see where the big emergency was. She said “I always wanted people in town to know who I am, but this wasn’t quite what I meant!”

I commented that this was the end of Big Red, her pet name for the vehicle. She still thought she could get it fixed, but her husband put his foot down and said it was the end for the van. Now she is stuck driving the brand new Honda van they bought this winter that she didn’t like very much because of all the fancy gadgets on it.

What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in public?  What has been your favorite vehicle?

27 thoughts on “Goodbye, Big REd”

  1. My greatest embarrassment–chronicled here before–might have been the time I was responsible for filling the second floor of Johnston Hall with tear gas, shutting down the College of Liberal Arts for a day. Before that afternoon the dapper Dean of the college didn’t know me, but that event made me the Tear Gas Kid.

    Or it might have been the time I defiled the guest bathroom in the home of a college friend I was visiting near New York City. It probably isn’t literally true that I flooded the tiny floor of that bathroom in urine to a depth of two inches, but memory insists that I did. Suddenly my hosts, gathered for breakfast on the first floor, were clamoring for me to join them, only I didn’t know how to absorb and dispose of an ocean of stinky yellow liquid.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have had the same thing happened to my car that happened to your friends car where I had to stick the key in the transmission shifter in order to be able to get the car to go into drive every time for the last year or two is existence of the Honda accord

    That car also had the horn issue but I found that easy to resolve by simply unplugging the wires to the horn and disconnecting it I don’t need a horn anyway

    I am somebody who falls in love with his car and I have had many favorites my Volkswagen bus was the favorite

    since then I’ve had a fiat 124 spider convertible a 1973 Buick Riviera 1977 Mercury Marquis then a bunch of nondescript Dodge vans most recently a jaguar bonder plot the Honda accord a Volvo 1800 a Volvo 850 a Volvo 960 I really like Volvos

    and today I love driving Steve’s Subaru station wagon it’s a great great car

    I’m afraid I’m putting too many miles on it too fast when I bought it I believe it had 85,000 miles on it today it has 107 which means I put 22,000 miles on it in six months with all my driving for door dash and shipped but it is a wonderful comfortable reliable enjoyable car and I do love plugging it into my list of favorite cars

    That Volkswagen bus does have special placement at the top of the list I’ve thought numerous times and have looked on eBay at the possibility of getting another VW bus something about that was just exceptionally connected to my soul

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would love to know what voice recognition thought was ” jaguar bonder plot”.

      I felt the same way about our last VW camper; there is one just like it several blocks here, I see it almost every time I’m out on my bike, and I am envious.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. thanking about embarrassing moments I don’t embarrass easily and tend to shrug off most snafus as part of life journey but I do remember a time when I was asked to go into the television studio and be the presenter on a product for a local QVC like broadcast
    I know the product well and the features and benefits and I have done many presentations in front of large groups didn’t think anything of it but when they turn the camera on all of a sudden I got sweaty and tongue-tied and instead of being able to give a good presentation the host kept asking me questions and I kept answering correct is it really good product and it helps keep your lawn looking good but I making your Weedwhacker work better doesn’t it and my response was correct oh and does it fit all models correct and are the replacement blades easy to install
    Correct when the segment was over they said thank you very much it had aired but I wasn’t concerned about what is they would be asking me back for a repeat performance anytime soon it was just terrible I don’t know if anyone else saw it but my wife who was with my wife yet and turned on the TV at her daycare so that she could watch me and when I got back I said so did you see me on TV and she said correct

    Liked by 3 people

    1. i had a green one in 1973 as a drive to my construction job site vehicle while i was working on getting the vw bus ready for its last cross country sojourn
      those early 60’s boxes were edging toward modern streamline vs the 50’s round boats
      my favorite eta was the giant tail fin in the 59 cadillac and plymouth belvedere and 59-60 chevys

      Liked by 2 people

  4. my car of desire today is a porsche 911 which would be my sunday driver
    i always wanted a bathtub porsche but those have turned into unbelievably expensive cars and the combination of paying that price and having it be for 1950’s technology where it drives like an old car no matter how well you rebuild it will prevent me from going that route.
    a 90’s 911t would be fine

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Daughter has mostly forgiven me for selling the VW Beetle before she learned to drive – she likes driving our Leaf(s), but would like to find someone with a manual transmission car so she can learn to drive stick shift. Since my brother’s family is pretty much all-EV and her friends think she is nuts… well… it might be dicey to find her one. I do miss my Beetle and its sun roof, but I like the quiet and acceleration of the Leaf (also the reduced carbon footprint).

    As for embarrassing moments… oy. There have been a few. Based on Steve’s story above, what comes to mind is when I was in maybe 5th grade and the church “junior” choir was singing the cantata version of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (which predates the full length musical). My friend Todd was the early service Joseph, I was to be the middle service Joseph, and then he would pick up the late service again. We were the two tallest and loudest altos, so that’s why we each got a spin at the role. First service, there I stood with the rest of the choir and Todd makes his entrance down the center aisle with the first solo… and my bladder decided it was time then to empty in anticipation of that being me. Nothing I could do to stop it. Thankfully, I was in a back row and behind something, wearing a choir robe so it was immediately apparent what had happened, except to me and the person immediately next to me. I was mortified. I remember sitting alone in the room across from the choir room waiting for my dad to come with fresh clothes. – being reassured by the choir director that it was okay, it happens, no one really saw (I’m still not sure I completely believe her). I survived my performance as Joseph during the second service and was glad to be done when that third service hit so I could rush home as soon as we were done.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Might she be willing to take Ms S out for a spin or two?… I can say that S is generally speaking a good driver (though mostly used to driving electric cars that have essentially no transmission…)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. First car was Grandma’s ’67 Valiant I’ve talked about before. Every car is probably a favorite when it’s new and shiny.
    But I had a ’78 Buick Skyhawk. That was a pretty cool car. I did a lot of work on it – replaced a clutch among things, that I learned a lot and so it holds a special memory for that reason.
    Two years ago I got a different pick up truck; 2013 Ford F350 Super Duty and it’s really nice. I almost like it better than my everyday Jeep.
    I also had an old postal jeep. I was about the 5th owner. It was painted a green color… maybe sort of Olive Drab color. It had some quirks. But boy it was fun. That and the Saab 900 with the key between the seats and the front opening hood. That was a fun car.

    Embarrassment is relative… as a kid I’m sure there was several things. Watching mom and Dad use a swing set in a public park was a horrible thing to experience at the time. Now it seems pretty cool.

    I played a trumpet solo for the 6AM Easter Service at church. I was not a good enough trumpeter to be playing solos. In the middle of playing, I had one of those hiccups you swallow at the same time. Course the note cracked. When done I packed up the trumpet and slunk out and it was never spoken of again. Until now.
    I remember watching Dad be a speaker at church one morning. It was back when you hooked the mic around your neck using a string. Dad couldn’t get the string to hook. Tried 3 or 4 times at which point I had slid onto the floor in a fit of giggles. Don’t know if he was embarrassed.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. My current car, Brekke, is my favorite. She’s a hybrid and a hatchback and I have those rubber mats that I love. She can go over 300 miles on an 8 gallon tank of gas and that’s wonderful too. Prior to Brekke, my favorite car was probably my Honda Civic who was named Civetta. I drove her until she was 15 and I will admit that I teared up a little bit when the guy I sold her to pulled out of the driveway with her.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Husband and I, not yet married, were at a Knights of Columbus event that his dad was involved in. I remember there was dinner, and polka dancing at some point. Husband, who hardly ever drinks more that one drink, had had several, and at the dinner table somehow got started talking about intimate details of our relationship. All I remember (I had also had plenty of wine) is that after kicking him under the table, I was just so relieved that the only people who heard were a favorite sister and her husband, who were both snorting whatever drink they had. Needless to say, I was the designated driver home…

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Whenever I have to part from a car I always remember its best qualities and wish I could’ve kept it longer. I feel that way about my dear departed Jetta wagon, Freddie.

    The Subaru I have now is a fine car, but in the wintertime I miss the cloth seats Freddie had, and the Jetta’s superior mileage.

    I’m sure, though, that when the Subaru ages and passes into history I’ll remember it as one of the greats.

    One of my favorites was my old Buick Century wagon, a real workhorse.

    My candy apple red Escort wagon was a dandy, too.

    Liked by 2 people

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