Every once in a while, you wear something out so badly that you just have to get rid of it because it is either completely used up, so badly damaged that it can't be fixed, it is dangerous to use, or it simply stops working.
To that, I think a quote from the salesman who came into his office after giving my truck the once-over for trade in value is most appropriate: "Well...you certainly got your money's worth out of *that* one, didn't you?". I was aware of the fact that he didn't really want to even deal with this vehicle as a trade in. I just didn't really care. My reply (with no small amount of pride in my demeanor): "Damn straight. I drove the shit out of that truck".
The message was clear, I was bringing him a vehicle that was most definitely on it's last leg--and I just didn't really give a crap that he obviously didn't want to be messing with it. I was, without hesitation, proud that I had run this vehicle right up to the final edge of it's life. More than that, I was proud that this vehicle has stood up to my abuse with a defiant streak of stubbornness. It just wasn't going to die. It just wasn't going to let me down. Strength of character and intestinal fortitude just can't be faked. This truck had both.
I am grateful for it's dedicated service. But it was time to move on. (Somehow, I think if this truck were a human, it would be a really old guy who says, with complete honesty: "I'm tired, and I just can't do it any more. It's time to move on")
I initially started typing a highlight list from the 12 years I had this truck, but I think that what it really meant to me can be summed up in a single, critical event in my life: I trusted it to bring my first born child home from the hospital.
So I have a shiny new stranger sleeping in my garage tonight. I believe that I have honored my old truck, buy purchasing a suitable replacement, but only time will really tell.
Them there are some big tire tracks to fill...