This car is the end of an era

Ellie McDowell

More stories from Ellie McDowell

It takes a village
April 19, 2023

My ugly green car and all of the things that make it unique (aka the dents and broken door handles).

When I was driving down Cascade Road on the way to a band concert at CMS, my car started to try to drift off of the road. I thought it was because of a flat tire. Then, there was a thud and a grinding sound. I pulled off onto Hall Street and then into the entrance of a neighborhood. I couldn’t see anything wrong with my tires. I left the car at CMS, and my dad took it home a day later. He texted me, “I got your car home. You are right. It’s very bad.” When I got home, he told me we were getting rid of it.

Grand Haven numerous times.

Holland once or twice.

All over Grand Rapids.

That car has taken me to so many places. I laughed and cried in that car. I have nearly missed work because it wouldn’t start.

One time, I was driving home from work. It was around 10 p.m., and it was dark. There was a car coming toward me, so I flicked off my brights, and then I felt a thud. I pulled into my neighborhood and found a huge dent in my car. That was the first time I ever hit a deer while driving.

After the bonfire during Homecoming week, a bunch of my friends and I drove my car to Culver’s and ate in the back. Some of them had to ride in the trunk because I didn’t have enough seats. There was so much laughter that night.

The first time I ever got my oil changed, I waited way too long to do it. When I got to the oil change place, I told the mechanic that I didn’t know what to do because I had never gotten my oil changed before. He tested my oil and showed it to me. There was barely a drop of oil in my car.

One time, I went to Target and bought a Lunchable. I was just chilling in my car, and then I spilled cheese all over the floor. I am only 99% sure I got it all cleaned up.

I was driving down 28th street with my sister and Alex in the car with me. I wasn’t paying full attention, and the cars around me started to move. I lifted my foot off the break and looked up a little too late. I bumped the car in front of me and immediately slammed on the break and covered my mouth. We pulled off into a nearby parking lot and got out of our cars. She looked at me and said, “Oh, honey, it’s perfectly fine. Let’s make sure there is no damage, but I’m not worried. No need to call anyone.” We walked around the cars, and there wasn’t even a dent. I cannot even begin to describe the relief I felt.

To my car, it’s been a good run.

That car has housed so many picnics in the trunk in the school parking lot. One time, Alex and I were eating McDonald’s fries in my trunk, and this car pulls up. It was probably some boys from school, but we couldn’t see them. They just drove around and around the car over and over again. I was so confused, and we got a little anxious. When they left, I turned off the car, and we lied down in the trunk and kept talking. They came back, saw the lights were off, and went away. Alex and I laughed so hard.

Last summer, I did a lot of driving around, just for fun. I hooked my phone up to the Bluetooth in my car and blasted the music. Windows down, music blasting, I have never felt freer in my life.

All this to say, the pile of trash that is my green Toyota Highlander has made so many of my adventures possible. It has carried me to beaches, to football games, to friends’ houses, and to rehearsals.

That car has had so many problems, but I’m still going to miss it.

It’s been a good run.