This post might sound weird to some. It might be familiar to others. We are saying goodbye to one of our cars. It’s not my first car. It won’t be my last car. It is, however, one of the most memorable cars I have ever owned. Maybe after reading this open letter to it, you’ll understand why.

Dear Ford Five Hundred (AKA Five Hundy),

Where do we begin? Let’s begin when I pick you up with 4 miles as a company fleet vehicle. Not being a brand I usually choose, I won’t forget the guy at the dealership saying “Ever since Ford bought Mazda, they are making their cars on their platform. This is a great car!” I took his word for it and boy was he ever right. 175,000 miles later, you have been the car that saw us, especially me, through a lot of things.

At first, you were just a “work car” paid for by my employer. You got me on sales calls. You heard my calls in the car to clients. During our first week together, you delivered me to the hospital where my dad had a major heart surgery. From the beginning, you always seemed to take us to the important moments and times.

Like when I drove 6 hours to Nashville for a worship night when I was trying to figure out some things. You delivered me there and back the same night. You put up with my prayers and praise both ways.

When you took me to Charlotte to see if there were “giants in the land” and if God was really calling us to move our family there.

When you took our family there to find a home in Charlotte only to realize that is not where God was calling us.
When you delivered us safely to the Outer Banks for a much-needed family vacation
When you went to the same parking lot 3 times with 3 different children to be the first car they learned to drive in.
For all of the concerts and sporting events, you took “the boy and I” to and from.

For the father and son road trips and daddy daughter talks.

For all of the date nights (when the kids had the other cars)
For all of the family sporting events, games, tournaments, matches, and competitions.
You were there to see our children go from car seats to the back seat to the passenger seat and the driver’s seat. Think about that. You carried them safely through each transition.
You heard my rants. You know my best days and even my worst.
You heard my solo concerts.

You heard my prayers.

You once held CDs and now Bluetooth, streaming, podcasts, and MP3s.

As I have aged, so have you. At first, the heated seat stopped working. We drove on.

Then the air conditioning went (which was brutal in a black car with black leather seats), but we drove on.

Your body started to age and show signs of the many miles.

The rust began to appear where there was once a shiny coating. We drove on.

When they said you needed this or that to keep running, we drove on.

When you leaked oil and your tires needed a weekly inflating, we drove on.

In the end, it got harder. You still made us laugh. Like the dome lights that randomly came on but would turn off when we hit the steering wheel “at 3 and 9.” You had charm even on your worst days.

Yesterday, you delivered our youngest to her little Christmas job (ironically right next door to the place we said our final goodbye). As I cleaned you out in that parking lot, the coins, papers, repair bills, and various items inside told your story. All of the moments, people, and places.

Like the 4 parking passes from the local high school and the college sticker on the front window.

For the final time, I turned the key in your ignition and we made one last short drive to the place you delivered me safely to our final destination. As I handed your keys to the salesman, I couldn’t help but tell your story. Sixteen years is a lot of history. We drove off of the lot in a shiny new replacement. As I look out the window this morning at this new blessing, I can’t help but feel a little sad that you’re not in the street (where you could leak all the oil you want).

You served us well and for longer than we could have ever imagined. I hope wherever cars go whoever climbs in that driver’s seat can appreciate you as much as our family does. As we have gone through a ton of car issues over the years, you were always there. The one constant car we could count on.

I have been known to say “It always comes back to the five hundy.”

Drive on five hundy. Drive on.