Jeep, The Grand Ol’ Fella
By M.A. Porter
Old dusty Jeep sits out on the street while five Mexican kids slop rags and soapy water on him, cleaning him up a bit. The boys had knocked on my door and said they’d like to earn some dinero, so we agreed on a price and I loaned them the tools. Jeep looks pretty happy with the activity—he seems to love life in Mexico.
We moved the old fella down five years ago. At first, he told us he wasn’t too keen on the topes and revolted by dropping all of his water in the parking lot of Super Lake. A new radiator was installed by Jaime next door and since then the grand old vehicle hasn’t missed a beat.
Jeep was born in 1996 and started out tricked up with fancy gadgets, but he’s had a tough life. Before he was delivered into our care, he was part of a construction company up in Minnesota. He rolled up 92,805 miles in three short years.
Soon he was sold to a salesman who wore out his four-wheel drive while wandering the Rocky Mountains. The salesman eventually drove him out to the Oregon coast, where they’d landed a new job. The guy metered Jeep up to 174,090 miles until he was fired from his job after he’d bedded a cute secretary in the back seat one too many times. Quite the rude treatment for such a noble set of wheels.
There Jeep sat, the sea spray corroding his innards, until we welcomed him into our family because we’d bought a business and he came with the package. He did his best to carry our manager around but was treated like a garbage pit—the entire back seat and cargo area became a compost heap of McDonald’s sacks and cigarette butts. So we retired him from corporate life and decided to call him ours.
Jeep’s been towed behind our motor home and, not fully understanding how you do that, we destroyed his transmission on one long trip through the American west. The replacement wasn’t as painful for him as it was for us. Jeep has bravely driven us from northern Nevada to Ajijic four times, his air conditioning failing but not repaired. His stereo was ripped out of his chest one sleepy night here in Ajijic—we’ve left the wires hanging as a reminder for others that they shouldn’t bother.
Nevertheless, he’s always picked himself up, dusted himself off and resumed his high spirits. We just love him to pieces, which is what he might soon be because, by my estimate, he’ll flip over to 200,000 miles sometime in August.
As I watch the boys finish up, I can’t quite believe that I have tears in my eyes about Jeep’s looming milestone. Most likely it’s because my husband and I have the habit of anthropomorphizing vehicles; they seem to take on personalities that are more interesting than some family members.
Right now there are deep dents in Jeep’s rear left side, and the one of the passenger doors doesn’t work properly. His glove box flips open at will. The cargo door is held open with a wooden pole because he no longer has the strength. Jeep also doesn’t see so well because his windshield has sand pits.
But, I suppose that we’re giving Jeep a good and purposeful life down here in Mexico. After all, he’s delivered food to hungry orphans, he’s taken loads of goods to thrift stores, and many Mexicans have offered to buy him after they’ve witnessed the rev in his engine and pep in his passing speed. How fitting.
And right now he’s getting the full Mexican neighborhood spa treatment. Last fall he got new tires. Next month will be an oil change. I just know the old wonder will last another 100,000 miles. I hope. I will really miss him when he goes.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com