My dearest Gertrude,

We met when I was six months unemployed with a bachelor’s degree, a sweet GPA, and no way to pay my bills. I had no car then. I had a bicycle and a dream (and very generous friends who gave me rides). In the midst of a dark season, your slightly rusted burgundy paint shined as a glimmer of hope. God gave you to me through the generosity of Pastor Mike, Frank, and Val & Chuck. I was told, “Don’t accelerate too quickly, and start saving for a better car since this one will probably die in a year.” I nodded my head, but on the inside I knew this bond would last forever. I originally called you “Bertha,” but my then-roommate Sarah Jo suggested “Gertrude” so that we could affectionately call you “Gerty” and sometimes “Ol’ Gerty.” Since then, you’ve been my Gerty.

Sure, your horn was one notch above mute, and I was constantly told, “Quina! Honk your horn!” so that everyone could get a good laugh. Sure, you broke multiple aux tapes and only played music 50% of the time. Sure, I bragged that your name could have been “Ol’ Faithful” to my friend when she needed a ride to campus, just to have you refuse to start that day. And yes, near the end you flashed at least three lights on the dashboard at all times, including the “no seatbelt” light even when my seatbelt was, in fact, on. But that’s what was great about you. You had a sense of humor. You had determination. You had soul.

After a miraculous four years of riding (slowly) on nothing but grace, the time has come for our paths to part. You’ve served me well, Ol’ Gerty. May you soar to new heights, zoom at lightning-fast speeds, and triumphantly shout a melodious honk in car heaven.

Yours forever,