In late March, 2005, a kid in a 1965 Ford truck totaled my 1997 Saturn. The Saturn dealer didn't have another Saturn I could afford, but they did have a 1994 Eagle Vision. I'd never heard of this kind of car, but I bought it. For about five years it was my good and faithful car, my conveyance to numerous adventures and a source of endless amusement with its outside temperature thermometer. But in 2010 I had to put over $2,000 into repairing it - and that's without fixing the broken interior door handles, the warped panel over the airbags, the worn out paint, or the car stereo that shorted out years ago. When early this month my repair shop told me it had sprung numerous transmission leaks, I knew the time had come to say goodbye to my 17-year-old Eagle.
So on Tuesday, January 11th, after several days of research and test drives, I bought a 2001 Kia Optima. Hey, it's only a decade old, and doesn't look half its age. I've already started having adventures in it, including two trips to Phoenix and some hairy mountain driving.
But later on the night I bought the Kia, I went to open the trunk, only to discover that the key in my hand was the one to the Eagle. Oops! I drove back to the Kia dealership, which was closed by then, hid the key in the glove compartment, and took the opportunity to take a few final pictures of the Eagle - in effect, to say goodbye.
But of course, that's the least of the goodbyes that took place in Tucson, Arizona this month. As I sat in a car dealership on Saturday morning, January 8th, my congresswoman met with a small group of constituents in a Safeway parking lot across town. You know what happened next.
With all the focus on Gabby Giffords and her remarkable survival and recovery-in-progress, I think there's a danger that the rest of the country is already starting to forget about the six people who died that morning. Tucson has not forgotten. Thousands of us attended various memorials and funerals to say goodbye to those six people, whether we personally knew them or not.
I never met any of the six, as far as I know. But I have been to one of the places where Tucsonans have gathered to remember, to pray for the living, and to say goodbye to the fallen. Here, too, much of the focus is on Gabby, our fellow Tucsonan who has become a symbol of hope. But many of the signs refer to the fallen, and candles have been lit to their memory:
Now let's go see what or whom everyone else is bidding goodbye!
as of 12:39 PM (ET) Saturday, January 29th 2011
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