Saturday, March 1, 2014

New Wheels, A Gathering for Ron and a Chance Encounter

Consumer Reports was in the news this past week for their annual top picks for automobiles. I briefly heard a nice mention of Subaru Forester and that piqued my interest. I went online and paid for a one month subscription to their website so I could access their findings. The Forester scored an 88 which seemed really good when compared to the competition. Hmmm...I'd put thoughts of looking at a new vehicle on the back-burner but this had me reconsidering.

The plan was to get another couple of years out of my 2001 Nissan Frontier pickup truck. Its mileage wasn't ridiculously high at 132k but its transmission began making some disturbing noises a couple weeks ago when going between 4WD and 2WD, so much so that it seemed a big repair bill was in our future if we decided to hang on to it. Between the worries of possibly needing to put more money into my truck than it was maybe worth and the Consumer Reports reviews, I decided to take a trip back to the Subaru dealer just off 35W in Burnsville Wednesday around noon.

The one thing that was apparent is that they can't keep this model in stock. 4 of 5 Foresters on the lot were sold including one that I took a liking to. There was a light sage-green model that sort of interested me but I really wanted something other than green this time around. I checked with the salesman to see what they were expecting in the next few weeks and he mentioned a bronze one just like the one in the showroom which would arrive the next day. I put some money down to hold it and was on my way. I got a call from Josh not more than 10 minutes later asking if there was any way I'd consider changing my mind and opting for the sage-green model instead. I assured him there wasn't. I would come to find out that I beat one other guy in the showroom that day by not more than 90 seconds in getting my money down on the car.

I spent some time yesterday morning giving my old friend one last bath and removing all of my things from inside while feeling a little melancholy about trading it in. I drove to the dealer and thanked my friend along the way for 13 years of faithful service. It's been a great truck for me.

I was a little worried about what my Nissan would bring me but they actually offered me $1000 more than I figured they would. I probably should've haggled over the price just because but I didn't. I know it's going to need work but fortunately for me it ran fine on the way over there and during the test-drive. The only fault they could find with it was the rusting rear bumper.

Two hours later with all of the paperwork filled out and a heavy snow coming down, I was on my way trying not to be too distracted by all of the gee-whiz stuff that makes up the dash panel. I've always been secretly envious of people with thermometers in their vehicles and now I've got one. And a compass!

We took our new Forester on its maiden voyage yesterday afternoon up to St. Joseph, about 90 minutes northwest via a slight detour into Minneapolis to pick up Rachel at her office. Ron's family was having a memorial get-together at the funeral home for him. It was less formal than a wake, it seemed, but maybe that's still the appropriate term for it. It was a casual gathering of people who knew and loved Ron. It was nice.

I talked with his daughter Sherri and she told me that the defibrillator on his pacemaker had been going off at an increased frequency and it was causing concern. He died on the operating table while the doctors were performing angioplasty surgery to see if there was anything they could do to improve his heart's function.

It was nice to spend time visiting with Ron's family; it's been so long since I've seen them. I commented that it would've been fun if as a tribute to Ron a bunch of us showed up in flannel shirts, the kind he used to like to wear.

I made a detour to a Holiday gas station this morning that I'd never been to on my way over to the Subaru dealer to drop off the title for the truck. I came around an aisle toward the back of the store in search of where they kept their pens when a guy stopped me and asked if I was Kevin Gilmore. He wasn't familiar to me and I no sooner confirmed it was me when he said he reads my blog and recognized me from photos I'd posted. He went on to tell me that he too was once a controller but he got caught up in the PATCO strike of 1981 and that he sells cars for a living now. Brian said he stumbled onto my blog while doing a search of some sort online and has been following along since. He mentioned that he too is a "Hosanna refugee" no longer feeling at home within the church after being a member for 21 years, singing in the choir for 7 and leading a small-group. The somewhat parallel paths of our lives were interesting to us both as was our chance meeting. It was an unexpected surprise to have him approach me like that.

Shameless plug to follow...

My encounter with Brian reminded me of the time a woman came up to me in a store and asked if it was me she saw on an episode of Judge Judy the previous day. I was so surprised that anybody would make a connection like that but I suppose I shouldn't have been considering how many people watch the show. I was much less surprised when the phone rang right after our appearance aired and some anonymous person on the other end congratulated us on our win.

Oops...I just gave it away...

jj video from Kevin Gilmore on Vimeo.


Steve Claypatch said...

I can hardly wait to blow glass with you two on Wednesday. Judge judy? I can hardly wait to blow glass with you two on Wednesday.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Haha...the feeling is mutual!