The Dan Can

There is something wonderful about driving an old car. Old cars have personalities and, the lucky ones, have names. May I introduce the Dan Can.

The Dan Can is affectionately named after my dear Uncle Dan who gave us this car in November 2018. He was buying a new car and knew we were looking for one for our teen drivers. We became his charity of choice.

I love that the license plate began with the letters “BC”. It certainly fit.

I drove the car home from Texas after Thanksgiving. On the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma, the speed limit is 80 mph. As I approached this cruising speed, Veronica asked if the doors could possibly fly off. I had a brief vision of Johnny’s car seat being ejected out the back window. I put my hazards on and stayed in the right lane until we reached Missouri. At a rest stop, I announced that we were officially driving a tuna can. We threw Uncle Dan’s name in there and the moniker stuck.

My uncle took great care of this 2002 Honda Civic. The Dan Can did not have a rear view camera, or bluetooth, or air bags. It did have a cassette player. Our mechanic said this was a perfect car for teenage drivers: reliable but without too much power under the hood. But our winters are harsh. Like our teen drivers. We put 21,000 miles on the car in the last 17 months. About the only thing still working well was the flashlight in the glove box.

A couple of weeks ago, the car began leaking oil. We have the greatest mechanic in the universe, hard-working, loyal, and blessedly honest. He called with the grim news. We were looking at a minimum of $1000 in repairs, with no guarantee that something else major would not go wrong. Mike the Mechanic said business is down and he would love to take our money. But, he would rather be able to look us in the eye when he sees us around town. He said it was no longer safe to let the kids drive the car. It was time to say goodbye.

This afternoon, in a strange twist of fate, my sister put down her sweet Labrador Aspen at about the same time the junk yard towed away the Dan Can. Aspen lived 14 years, the Dan Can traveled 120,890 miles. Surely all good dogs and cars go to heaven.

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