Just last Friday, one of my mother’s pupils broke his wrist. In an attempt to swing on the rafters of the fale at the Aquatic Center in an all out “Spiderman” style, his act didn’t last very long - his grip loosened and he fell heavily on his left hand.
His wrist was swollen and red, and he lay in pain with a sympathetic yet inquisitive group of children circling him. After much shooing we carefully cradled the kid (we’ll call him Junior in this story) into our beaten up, white washed, decade old truck.
Once we got to the entrance of the Emergency Department, my Mum dropped me off with Junior to find a doctor, while she went to find a park.
However our truck failed to start up again! So with the help of some security guards Mum kick started it up, and then parked on an incline…a little hill so she could push start it if it decided to die on us again.
I wasn’t there long with Junior in Outpatients, when his Grandma, giving him the “you’re so gonna get it buster” look (hahaha) turned up with the rest of the family.
We said our farewells and hopped into our car, (expecting it to need a little push) it started up perfectly without difficulty. It left my mum and me laughing. Believe it or not, this is one of countless adventures my family have had with our old truck push starting it everywhere in the most public places.
For you, you’ll probably see a rickety old shell of a truck, with the paint peeling off and the handles worn out from much jerking. The radio doesn’t work and neither does the air condition. The back left door doesn’t open from the outside anymore and nearly all the front seats are stitched up and covered in patches of cloth to keep the chairs together. A lot of people would see it as a piece of junk just waiting to be recycled.
But I can’t help but smile when our “noble steed” (as our Mum likes to call it) comes to mind. From taking kids with broken limbs and cracked heads to the hospital, to loading our dogs to take to the vets for operations, to being a means to get kayaks from one side of the island to the other. For thirteen years our car has been a loyal companion and ‘taulealea tautua’ for my family.
Recently I rode in a new car. It was complete with a CD and cassette player, perfectly functioning AC, leather covered seats and that symphony of smells all new cars seem to have (which is actually a combination of aromas from new fabrics, vinyl, rubber, adhesives, sealers and leather that creates this unique smell that never lasts long, and is near impossible to duplicate!) It was nice riding in a car that had working handles and cool air conditioning.
But I love our old car as well, with all its dents and bumps because of the escapades and expeditions my siblings and I have had in it, and with it...Like pushing it in the middle of a four corner in town without any shoes!! What a way to hop in the noon day sun!
In a way, people are like cars in this manner. We all come in different shapes and sizes, colors and tints. Some are more rickety that others. Some of us have leather covered seats and others are more of the thick carpet type. Regardless of what kind of car you are, be a black sedan, a hum-V, Mustang or a lemon, the value of a “car” is known by the work it does for others. Have you been a friendly helper, who pumps his pistons to the limits just to get someone else over a tough hill? Or are you a car that is just up for display?
If you ask me, I’d rather be an old truck with a helping history, than a shiny new one that can’t do much except attract Lotto ticket buyers.