This is Charlotte.
Charlotte came to us by way of Craig’s List back in May, when I needed to replace our aging PT Cruiser (Stitch). I wasn’t looking for a convertible, but when you find a car this cute in the $3500 and under category… well, I couldn’t resist.
When paying that little cash for an older car you expect there to be repairs at some point. We made it four months before Charlotte’s transmission decided to take a break. As in stop working. As in break into pieces.
So we towed her to a transmission shop a couple doors down from Manny, our repair guy (on his recommendation). Now I know why Manny sent us to Sam. Sam not only took excellent care of Charlotte’s transmission, he figured out what was going on wth her air conditioner and drain line, which had flooded the floorboard and her main computer. Poor Charlotte had been drowning while singing “If I only had a brain…”
So, after draining the car, cleaning the AC line, rebuilding the transmission, replacing the computer, Manny and Sam returned Charlotte into my care with one last task: Take her to the dealership where they can update the firmware and reboot her. As I picked her up and finally brought her home, I wondered how much it would take to get the interior cleaned to avoid mold. That was supposed to happen yesterday, but the guy who runs the brain machine in the service department was a no-show. We’ll try again tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a friend and choir member who has been watching this whole process messaged me last week when I finally had Charlotte back in the driveway. He wanted to know if he could give me a late birthday present… Since she was practically new under the hood now, she should look like new outside. He offered to pay to have her detailed.
I thought she was cute before. She really cleaned up beautifully.
Driving home last night in my new-to-me-yet-again car, I was surprised by what a lift her little makeover gave me. It wasn’t about pride, so much as gratitude. I was once again thankful for the fact that we had sufficient cash to choose a car I liked and to take care of a major repair.
I was thankful that we had enough vehicles to get everyone where they needed to go for the weeks Charlotte was in the shop. I was also thankful for the weather that makes driving even a tired-looking convertible a joy.
But I think I was most thankful that a friend cared enough about me and my cute little car to do something for both of us. A kind and generous gesture that I did nothing to deserve. A little reminder of what grace feels like… and the joy with which a grateful heart responds.