Yesterday we swapped cars again as a family and once again, I met my old friend. My 2007 Ford 500 has seen many miles and stories. When I got in the driver’s seat yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of the stories it could tell.

I first met “The five hundy” in 2007 when I picked it up from a local dealership with 4 miles on it. The company I worked for provided us with company cars. I was blessed to get one too. I remember sitting in the dealership’s office and the sales rep (who had no skin in the game because it was already taken care of) saying “Since Ford started building cars on the Mazda platform, they are making great vehicles.” Not knowing a thing about any of that I trusted him and he has not been wrong. The Five Hundred has been a blessing from day one.

For years I drove it as a rep of the organization that paid the bills. From gas to maintenance, it was always taken care of. As many corporations change plans, mine sent out a message and offer. We could either surrender our vehicles or purchase them outright. After adjusting some finances, we bought the five hundred for WAY, WAY, WAY under market value. Now we own it.

I knew every mile and every story behind that wheel because I was the one driving them.

Then our firstborn got his license.

The 500 began its journey through 2 of our 3 children. It’s the car that they learned to drive in. Going to the local high school every day. It would become the car they were known for driving. When you thought of one of them, you thought of the 500 with the UNC magnet on the back of it.

When our firstborn entered his sophomore year of college, it was time for the 500 to attend college too. We were in a place to gift that to our son and thankfully packed it up and sent him on his way. For the last 3 years, the 500 attended MVNU and got a new education. I’m sure it was used for a number of experiences and always delivered him home on holidays and in the summer.

“The Boy” graduated a few weeks ago and has already secured his future employment. That job will require him to commute a bit. The 500 is old now. The rust, oil leak, and miles have been tough on it. Again, thanks to the blessing of where we are in life, we swapped cars yesterday. We want to make sure he has safe transportation as he launches into this next phase. Once again, the 500 returns to me and I return to it. It’s fitting. It’s how it should end one day for that car. We started the journey together. I want to see it through to the end. So does the 500.

170,000 miles will never tell the stories that the car took us. It won’t speak of crazy journeys, family adventures, tears, joy, wins, and losses. No one would ever know the hours of windshield therapy that car took me through. No one will ever hear the solo concerts I put on behind that steering wheel. When you look at it, you will never know how steady and strong that car has been through so many changes in our family’s life. Yet there it is. Sitting in the road outside the house. Exchanged once again for newer, faster, more technologically advanced vehicles.

When I look out my office window and see it, I know. I know what that old Ford has been for us.

 “I don’t need very much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.”

The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)

Me too 500. Me too.