He’s gone. He’s really gone!! It’s hard to believe. After all, he was a part of my life since the turn of the century. Saturday afternoon, after yet another road trip, we said good-bye to our Petey. In case you’re wondering who he was, Petey was the 1997 Ford Expedition that I drove and rode in during the last 11 years. Let me start by saying that if you’ve been around me very long, you’d probably know that I was married with two dogs. If you’ve been around me a little longer, you’d also have heard me mention Petey. I know it sounds weird to think of a vehicle as a member of your family, but I guess I get attached easily.
When he was first purchased, Petey was driven from our home in San Antonio five days a week while my husband was commuting to his new job in south Austin. He was much more comfortable than our Ford Escort station wagon and he definitely had more head room!! Petey made this trip every week from May through mid-July with no problems coming or going. I’m sure he was glad to finally move up to Austin in July as that trip gets really old really fast!
During his time with us, Petey gained over 176,000 miles. He kept us safe during a spin-out while driving through a bad storm on our way back from my in-laws several years back. He was with us during our 10-year anniversary trip as well. He drove us from Round Rock to Memphis, TN to Lexington, KY to Washington D.C., and back through Tunica, MS before returning home. He’s schlepped who knows how much stuff during our move as well as several friends’ moves. He’s taken us camping, hunting, shopping (a LOT!!), to holiday celebrations, weddings, as well as the occasional funeral. He’s spent several nights at the airport so we had a comfortable ride waiting for us upon our return. All in all, he’s been a big part of our lives during his time with us.
In case you’re wondering how Petey got his name…well, it’s a funny story. First, let me give you some background information about him. A little while after joining our family, Petey decided that cruise control buttons were overrated and were blocking the pretty blue night light on the steering wheel. Soon after this decision was made I found that the buttons didn’t want to stay in place. I kept them in the car, but they were now being stored permanently apart from the steering column. Next, Petey felt that he really liked listening to music and never wanted it to end. Following this decision, the radio refused to turn off. There were even a few times I came outside wondering who was playing their music so loud only to find out it was Petey. That’s right!! There were no keys in the ignition (or anywhere near the car for that matter) yet the radio was still running! I guess Petey wanted to rock out without us! After stopping for some ice cream one night, I turned off the car and got out and Petey, who was jealous he couldn’t have ice cream too, decided to throw a hissy fit! Just as I walked past the side view mirror, the back cover of it popped off and landed on the ground. After I finished laughing hysterically, I picked up the cover and put it back on the car. It of course fell off again at some point during our drive, so we were never able to recover it. Finally, to give you a rundown of several other things that were a bit “off” or flat-out gone with Petey…well…here goes:
- Driver’s side visor mirror was crushed and removed (this one was my fault!)
- One hubcap was missing (not sure how long it had been missing when we finally noticed it)
- A/C vent decided to drop out of the ceiling at one point, although this was fixed
- The window on the back door would open, but would only stay open as long as you held it (This was so much fun when loading and unloading things into it. Can’t tell you how many times I got hit on the head from that stupid thing!!)
- Driver’s side window fell down into the door at one point and since it was fixed provided a wonderful rattle that would come pretty close to driving you bonkers. I tried correcting it with the old “Fonzie” move (banging the door with my fist), but that usually just resulted in a sore fist.
- Check Engine light was competing with the steering wheel night light for total light domination
- Fantastic sound coming from the engine which made me think that Petey liked the maracas!
I could probably go on and on, but I figured it might be a good idea to actually tell you where the name came from. In the movie Dumb and Dumber, Harry and Lloyd live together in a run-down apartment with Harry’s bird Petey and Lloyd’s worm farm. They manage to get caught up with the wrong people and to make a long story longer, the “wrong people” kill Petey after Harry and Lloyd sneak out of their apartment. Harry heads back to the apartment while Lloyd makes another dumb move and winds up back at the apartment defeated yet again. Harry then breaks the news to Lloyd that Petey is dead. When Lloyd asks what happened, Harry tells him, “His head fell off! He was pretty old.” After pondering this movie reference I couldn’t think of a better name for everything that was going on with our crazy vehicle.
So here we are, starting our first week with our “new to us” 2007 Ford Expedition EL (extended length). As my husband and I drove back from San Angelo on Saturday in our new ride, we talked about what was different with this new vehicle. It’s the little things we appreciated – like being able to actually turn off the radio rather than just turning down the volume. We now have third row seats that fold down completely rather than having to remove them entirely when the room is needed. It really is amazing what you can get used to over time. Obviously there are many new bells and whistles in the newer vehicle than we had with Petey, but we’re still trying to get a feel for our new conveyance.
I will say one thing though…Petey had character. He and I had many conversations while driving and he always agreed with my way of thinking. Whenever we’d discover some new quirk with him, whether it be a new sound or missing body part, we knew it just made Petey that much more like his late winged namesake. He wasn’t the prettiest vehicle to look at as he was covered in hail dings and part of his exterior detailing was peeling off. As with any member of your family whom you love, you tend to look past the physical shortcomings.
Petey was our reliable friend for many years and this new car has big tires to fill! I’m still not sure if the newest member of our vehicular family is a boy or girl, but we look forward to the many adventures to come. I know a fitting name will present itself in time, but there will only be one Petey. As great a name as it was, it was given to him for a reason. Here’s hoping we don’t have a Re-Petey in ten years!!