When I went into the garage this morning and saw the empty space where my car is supposed to be, my first thought was “Call the police!” Then I remembered watching my beloved 12-year-old Chevy pull away yesterday with my friend, Gina Nielsen, at the wheel. I took photos of this epic moment, just as I did five years ago when my brother, Paul, and his wife, Dot, flew out from Omaha to claim Burt’s car. I had tears then, and a few more tears yesterday.
It’s not easy losing your independence as you grow older, but I do believe if you know it’s no longer wise to drive, you need to be a grownup and bite the bullet. At least I’m bowing out with a life-long record of perfect driving — no fender benders, no tickets, no run-ins with the law.
Burt decided years ago that his car would go to my kid brother. When my husband died suddenly, his car was new with only 12,000 miles on it. The car is now lovingly referred to as “The Burt-Mobile.”
My car was (still is) 12 years old and the mileage thingie yesterday said 19,271. I have known the “Bobbie Mobile” would eventually go to Gina, who has kept my life running smoothly even before my husband died, when I needed computer help.
Macular degeneration has robbed me of my vision, just as it did my mother and oldest brother. It’s a devastating eye disease. Maybe one day science will come up with a cure, but for now and for me, it means monthly retina injections.
When I get the blues, I make myself pick up the phone and call someone who is much worse off. My call cheers them up and does the same for me. It’s really hard asking friends for help, but I figure it’s a lesson in humility I’m supposed to learn.
Today, since I briefly considered calling the cops about my missing car, I’m pulling a few laughs out of my “Cop Joke File” for your amusement — and mine too.
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The following came from Swede Pearson, who grew up in Newport. He is now a retired Oregon State Police officer and lives in The Dalles, Ore. Here is Swede’s true story:
“I pulled over an elderly couple for running a red light while driving a large motorhome down 101. As I talked to the couple, I could hear a persistent beeping noise coming from their RV. When I asked the driver about the noise, the man told me a cricket had somehow gotten into their motorhome. Try as they might, they could not locate the pest that was sounding off every day. I volunteered to try my hand at locating the critter and stepped inside the motorhome. Very quickly I traced the sound to a dash-mounted travel alarm clock, switched the alarm off, and informed the people I had located the “cricket.” The driver didn’t seem to mind getting the citation as at least they could now head on down the road in peace and quiet.
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A Bend, Ore., policeman had a perfect spot to watch for speeders, but wasn’t getting many. Then he discovered the problem. A 12-year-old boy was standing up the road with a hand-painted sign that read “RADAR TRAP AHEAD.” The officer also discovered the kid had an accomplice (another boy) who was down the road with a sign reading “TIPS” — and a bucket full of money!
Sometimes, someone unexpected comes into your life out of nowhere, makes your heart race, and changes you forever. We call those people cops.
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My husband had a thing about personalized license plates. His (BURT XL) plates are nailed to the wall of my brother’s garage in Omaha. The XL stands for “extra large.” Today (or maybe next week) I will put mine (BOBBI L.) on a wall in our garage. No more tears. Right now I need to find a friend who has time to help me go for cat food. Purrfect is not so perfect when she’s hungry.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]