Enchilada? Meet Turtle Island Truck

As promised, here’s another story about the car we all loved.

Circa 2006
My man was attending a training session one beautiful spring afternoon. From what I recall him telling me, the session was the type where the material is rote, boring and not at all in touch with the reality of the job. So, it was a pretty typical training session. Guffaws from the back row occasionally sent the room into restrained giggles. In my mind’s eye, there is also the odd spit-ball.

Some time after lunch when the food comas had taken hold, a random guy in coveralls poked his head into the room and said, “Hey.” Everyone perked up. “Does anyone here drive a black Lebaron?”

It’s never good to hear that. Especially when the car so-named is nearing extinction. As was repeatedly pointed out to my man as he made his way to the door to check on his baby.

It turns out that during the regular course of business, a really large and pushy recycling truck got randy with the Enchilada and gave her a bumper-to-bumper hickey. She was blushing. And looking pretty ravaged.

Around this time, we had had to admit that she was starting to look older than she felt. It became obvious when her body started turning on her. The hubcaps had hurled themselves into ditches just to get a few moments of peace and quiet. The paint had begun to fade in odd patches. The hole in the roof and the resulting musty smell were getting hard to ignore.

But still she purred. Her charm was intoxicating. And she was wicked funny.

Of course, we got her fixed up as far as the insurance would pay.

She returned to us from her convalescence at the auto body shop half a block away. The passenger side looked just like the Enchilada we knew and loved anyway: fading paint, a couple of parking lot dings, missing hubcaps, but with the essential curves still where they should be. The driver’s side was another story altogether.

The whole side of the car had been smoothed, painted and buffed. The driver’s side had the same curves as the passenger, but they gleamed. The door emitted a disturbing crunch when opened all the way, but she looked half-lovely. The insurance paid for the damaged panels. That is all.

She came home to us with more personality than we ever suspected. Two of them, in fact, split right down the middle between the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. I’d never owned a car before that had even a little personality, let alone two of them. I think I fell in love with the Enchilada all over again that day. At any rate, I started sitting in the driver’s seat more. Way cooler.


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