Broke? Join the bandwagon

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By Ken Begley


Cindy and I own three old worn-out vans that look like they have just enough energy left to get to the junkyard. There’s a perfectly logical reason for this situation as I’m sure most people in this day and age will understand and sympathize with.

We’re broke!

We weren’t always broke. This current state of affairs resulted from eight years of “wonderful” Republican rule and then followed by four more years of “incredible” Democratic rule. 

If ignorance and stupidity goes to $100 a barrel then I want the drilling rights to the average politicians head.

Anyway, our nation’s leadership has definitely “refined” my tastes in life in many ways but none more so than in transportation.

You might think that having three vehicles is a luxury, but in our case, it’s a necessity. You see I work in Boyle County, Cindy works in Washington County, and my second eldest daughter goes to school at the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Hardin County. So trying to choke life out of three old worn out vans in order to keep them on the road is a fourth part-time job that I add to my daily routine. 

I am required, as the guiding light to my loyal followers, to prove my worthiness of my position by giving daily demonstrations of bravery in the face of true terror. 

The translation to that last statement is to say that as a father I am always required to take the biggest hunk of junk we own that has wheels on it as my basic transportation for getting to work.

Yep, old “Whitey” as I refer to it (never was imaginative in names) was originally painted white in some forgotten past decade. Now a lot of the paint seems to be falling off, sort of like my hair.  However, it doesn’t bother me. I have come to think of paint as a frivolous extra whose added weight just cuts down on my gas mileage. 

In addition, three of the windows won’t roll down any more. The automatic locks don’t work, the heater and cooler only work when operated on high, the headlights are fogged over with age-like cataracts, and the head liner material on the inside roof keeps falling down on me and obstructing my view. But other than that, the vehicle is basically “solid.”

You probably think I’m exaggerating. Yet hitchhikers standing in a rampaging, cloud-bursting thunderstorm have refused to get in Whitey when I stopped for them, as they are afraid for their lives. 


Still I have to admit that Whitey looked like an escapee from a junkyard with just enough energy to get to the scene of a good-sized accident.

Yet, good old Whitey has gotten me mostly to where I wanted to go, and a few places I didn’t, for the past three years and 50,000 miles. 

Cindy and I used to drive old Whitey down to the new bypass around Springfield. We’d park it along the road. Cindy likes to take me out to exercise me everyday for a good long walk, as we don’t own a dog. No comments please, I’m telling you a story.

We had to start leaving old Whitey at the house and walking down to the bypass. The reason was people kept driving up and offering us a ride as they thought old “Whitey” had died and we were walking home. 

I kid you not. The people of Washington County really are a concerned bunch that tries to help everyone in need even if they don’t know them.

It does have benefits to owning old vehicles. I sure do get my money’s worth from AAA. I keep their number on my speed dial and have a personal coffee cup at most garages. 

In addition, I get to meet so many interesting folks like tow truck drivers.

Tow truck drivers tend to be a lonely, yet talkative bunch. I guess they’re like me. I always seem to be on the road by myself so I get a lot of practice in conversing by talking to myself.  Either that or we’re both just crazy.

I climbed in the cab with one tow truck driver in Elizabethtown and we had such a good time talking by the time we got to the old Pickerill Motors in Lebanon that we continued talking for another half hour after we dropped off old Whitey. Then he followed me home and I had to call the police but that’s another story. Just kidding.

Another time I had to swap vehicles with Cindy and take her van, which I call “Blue,” because it’s painted blue, for new tires. (I told you I’m not too imaginative in naming things.) 

Cindy’s co-worker at the bank ran in and asked, “Who owns that white van in the parking lot.”  Cindy said, “It’s mine, why?” 

“I hate to tell you this but someone must have backed into you. It has a big dent in the side.”

 Cindy sighed with relief and said “Nah, we bought it that way.”