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The old and the beautiful
By: Allison B., Westgate Collegiate, Thunder Bay, ON

Newer is not always better. Sure a new pair of underwear each morning is nice. And yes, a new toothbrush every three months is probably a good idea. But, when it comes to cars, newer is not always better.

Up until one month ago, I was the proud owner of a 1978 golden-brown Chevrolet Impala. My first car. She was a big girl. Two doors, over ten feet long, and stretched out over one-and-a-half parking spaces. I had affectionately named her “Solid Gold,” but she occasionally wandered under the pseudonym of “Heavy Chevy” of simply “The Boat.”

She was not just a car, during her 23-year lifespan — just two years short of a “classic” — she had become an array of worthwhile products. From a dog-house, to a bear trap and everything in between, Solid Gold became a reliable old friend and companion.

Sure, having an old car requires a hint of humility. But, so what? I’ve had more compliments on my “sweet ride” than I ever did on a new shirt or hair-do. Not only that, nothing could come close to the character of my old friend. Wheezing when it rained, coughing when she’d had a long run. Solid was more human than Cher after her last plastic surgery.

Until her untimely death, even I hadn’t realized Solid Gold’s true beauty. She encased more memories in her rusty shell than an antique photo album; road trips, running out of gas, sailing over pot-holes without the slightest jolt.

I hate the “New Car Scent.” I don’t like the leather interior that’s cold in the winter and sticks to your thighs in the summer. I’m not into the assimilation that takes you 20 minutes to find your green Cavalier in the parking lot.

One can spend their life pining away for that new Porsche or show-room Ferrari. But me, I’ll spend next to nothing on an old car. I may have to pay a little more for gas, but that’s alright with me.

I suppose all cars have to go sometime. For now, I’d like to imagine her smiling down on me from her exhaust cloud in the sky. Newer isn’t always better — like fine wine, cars get better with age.

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