Ode to an Xterra

Song Lyric of the Day:

Now I’m walkin’ in the moonlight / Seein’ nothin’ but the taillights / And that’s a pair of taillights / I may never see again

Clint Black / “Nothin’ But the Taillights

My maternal grandfather, my Abuelo Anselmo, died in March 2002. Once his estate was settled, Rich and I were fortunate enough to receive money that helped us buy a 2003 Nissan Xterra (along with my Altima as a trade-in). I named my Xterra Mo in honor of my grandfather, a man I’d only seen twice in my life, the last time being my wedding in April 2000. To say I became emotionally attached to Mo is an understatement. I LOVED that car. It sounds silly, but because we bought it with money from my grandfather’s estate, it felt like my grandfather was always with me. Mo had leather seats, the first Xterra with them to be sold in Virginia Beach. When we drove it off the lot, it had 7 miles on the odometer. I became what Rich called the Parking Lot Ninja, always looking for the best spot to park Mo, usually next to a curb or between much more expensive vehicles. I would spend up to four hours detailing it, leaving it looking as new as the day we bought it. It had a kickass Rockford Fosgate sound system with a 6-CD changer. It safely ferried us from Virginia to Tennessee and back again countless times before we moved back home. Our dogs Snoops, Caleb, Troubadour, and Happy all enjoyed rides in it; when Snoops died, I put a lock of her hair under the cargo mat — she loved, loved, loved riding back there. When the windshield got a tiny crack in it a few years ago, I cried. And when Rich and I made the decision recently that it was time to sell Mo for a more fuel-efficient car, I thought my heart would break. Rich lent me his shoulder to cry on, which I did. And he offered me some comfort when he said that in a way, my grandfather was helping us get a new vehicle, a sentiment my friend Nan also echoed. It’s so hard to express, but deciding to finally sell Mo made me feel like I was losing a friend, not to mention a tangible connection to my grandfather I could see and touch and be surrounded by every day.



But sell Mo we did this past Sunday. And thanks to my beloved Xterra, not only will Rich’s Tundra be paid off, but we now have a beautiful, fuel-efficient 2012 Hyundai Elantra. Whereas Mo got 17/20 MPG, the Elantra gets 29/40. And it’s got fantastic safety features, which is of the utmost importance to us now because of Coraline. Rich and I are getting used to all the bells and whistles of the Elantra, since Mo didn’t have that many. But now I can answer my phone via a button on the steering wheel (it’s Bluetooth enabled), there’s an iPod USB port, and a free three-month subscription to XM Radio. It’s also got much better pickup than I expected from a smaller engine (Mo had a V6), to the point that my foot maybe got a little heavy on the pedal the other day, prompting Rich to remind me “Baby in the car, baby in the car, baby in the car!”

Little Mo

Little Mo

I know I’ll forever miss Mo, but we already love the Elantra and know it’s going to be a great car for us for a very, very long time (you can’t beat Hyundai’s warranty). We look forward to driving it to Iowa later this summer to visit Rich’s family, since now that we have a truly fuel-efficient vehicle we don’t have to plan on renting a car anymore.

Still, the Elantra has some big wheels to fill, as it were. I like to think Abuelo Anselmo would approve of our choice. And, yes, I have already named my new car. Its name is Little Mo.

Side by side

Side by side

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3 Responses to Ode to an Xterra

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