Friday, August 24, 2012

08.24.12 Today I said good-bye to a dear old reliable friend...Bertha

     Well, after 20 years of Bertha being part of the family, today I went and sold her off. I kind of feel like a schlub. Like I am abandoniong a member of the family. And she was family, and treated my family well. My father purchased her in 1992 and she did hard duty for my dad,and Patty and my little sister. She towed boats and horse trailers made several trips down to Florida. Since the first day, she was a little not right in the head. She kind of like seizures. Her wiring was all messed up and it was somehow attributed to an after market alarm system that was put in. They grew frustrated with her and she eventually was parked in the graveyard of personal and business vehicles in the Archer Steel yard. And then she sat.
     About 10 years ago I needed something big since I had two boys and a house in the Poconos and we were just a rolling kind of foursome. So I talked to my dad about giving the "white van" a new life. The four tires were flat, she had kegs of bolts and lumber stored inside and that electrical system was shot. I got the new skins on and gave her a jump and took her to Douglas Auto Electric and met Tom the mechanic. He worked wonders on her...and she was back. We were on the go and most times just gone. Disney, Poconos, Adirondacks, Wildwood, and all points in between. We had two vehicles for work and running around, and the the "white van" for fun.
     Then life happened, and I got with three kids. Then I met a woman with two girls...and we got married. So my clan was now seven. And the "white van" became Bertha, after the Grateful Dead song of the same name.

Bertha at Vero Beach 2011
     My new life started and I picked up rolling like I used to. Bertha was happy, and happiest when we were rolling. With Sarah, the oldest, off to college and beyond, it was the six of us. Florida, Montreal, Adirondacks, Wildwood, the Poconos. She even got used for those photography assignments where my partner and I didn't want to spring for a room. We would jump into her for ice creams runs and family parties where we didn't want to take two cars. She was getting old, but she was still great.
     Well this year, I figured it would be our last together. This coming Monday my gang will be boarding a houseboat on Raystown Lake in PA. I thought this would be her last trip. But, recently, I parked her and then when I went to start her up she wouldn't. It's not a battery or electrical. But, it is time for her to go to a new home. I am looking to upgrade my electronics on my Jones Brothers boat and I don't want to sink more money into her, especially with my oldest two starting to drive and having no interest in Bertha as a first car.
     I posted an ad on Craigslist, Bertha $750. I got a hundred emails and phone calls. This morning I cleaned her up and vacuumed her out because a guy was coming at 1230. He came, he looked around and said, "Sold, I'll take it."

And that was it. I felt guilty. But I did feel better when he told me as we were filling out the title that he and his son were taking her to Missouri with a trailer in tow with a couple of old motorcycles they'll ride when they get out there. I immediately felt better, as did Bertha when she heard she was going on yet another long journey.