As car bites the dust, I still miss my Maverick

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

My first car was a green Ford Maverick with the shift on the column and a broken gas gauge. I had to keep up with my miles between gas purchases so that I would not run out. I can’t remember, but I think it was a 1971 model.

I bought it for $500 with my grass cutting earnings. When I was ten or eleven years old, I decided it was time to make some money. I hung a poster in the convenience store down the highway that read “Will mow lawns in Allenwood. Call David Chancey at . . .”

Several days later, Ms. Morris called. I rode my bike across our subdivision, went to the door, and this little old lady answered. This retired school teacher couldn’t believe this little guy was in the grass cutting business, but she gave me a shot and was very pleased. She also paid me $3 every time I mowed her yard.

I began picking up other customers. Mrs. Weaver paid $2. Mrs. Patterson paid $4. If I got a $5 job, that was quite a jump in pay. I saved what I could. I picked up other work here and there while still mowing my yards. In the fall, I’d rake their leaves, clean their gutters, whatever they needed.

I didn’t walk to school in the snow, but I did push my lawn mower (actually my dad’s) all over the neighborhood.

Towards the end of my senior year, we found this Maverick. The bank had repossessed it and our neighbor-banker let me purchase it. I loved that car.

When I finished high school, I lived at home my first two years of college, worked two part-time jobs, and built savings in case I transferred. By then I had passed my yards down to my brother.

One Saturday, I took a date to Six Flags. I drove the nicer family car and left my Maverick for my dad to drive. I came in late that night after everyone had gone to bed.

On Sunday morning, Mom always cooked a big breakfast, and we’d gather around the table and then hurry off to church. So I dragged myself to the table and my dad said the blessing that I’ll never forget:

“Dear Lord, thank you for this food and bless it to the nourishment of our bodies and our bodies to thy service. And thank you for being with me and Mark yesterday when we wrecked David’s car. Amen.”

That woke me up. On Saturday, Daddy was turning into a shopping center when he was rear-ended and pushed into a car pulling out of the lot. So my car was bashed at both ends. And, of course, it was totaled. Shortly afterwards, I was out of the country on a summer missions assignment, and my dad battled the insurance adjustor until he was satisfied with the settlement.

Now fast forward to 2010. I’m trying to drive a 1994 Toyota Corolla that we purchased in July, 1999. It had around 65,000 miles on it. At this writing, it has 293,700. My goal was to make it to 300,000, but it is becoming very clear that the end is near.

You know you’re car is on the way out when your mechanic calls you and asks, “Do you need anything done on your car this week?” He was too acquainted with this car.

So now, no hurry, but the search begins for a reliable preacher car that can take me another ten years. Maybe this one will have paint on it and will look more dignified in a funeral procession. And, maybe, I can count on it starting.

Yet, whatever we purchase, it won’t be my green Ford Maverick.

Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, in Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services building, and invites you to join them each Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m.