Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 24, 2014

Cathie Shaffer: Rocking the new wheels: 02/25/14

Staff report

GREENUP — I once again have wheels of my own. And, as some family members and friends predicted, I did indeed find a car like the one that was totaled a couple of weeks ago.

There are two major differences. One is this model has radio controls on the steering wheel, a nifty feature I’ve never had before.

The second is that instead of being metallic midnight blue, my new model is a metallic copper.

Or, as my kids insist, orange.

As we’re in the habit of naming our cars, I’m searching for the right one for the new baby. Pumpkin is a natural, given its color, but even shortened to the colloquial and affectionate Punkin, that doesn’t seem right.

I considered calling it UP. As in U, P, not up.

See, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is known for its history of copper mining. My car is copper-colored and I grew up within a few miles of Michigan. But that’s a little awkward, too.

I figure it’s like when I adopt a new kitten or puppy. When the time is right, the name will come. Or maybe it will just retain the moniker of “Nana’s car.”

Friends have already advised me to make sure I keep the cruise control set on the highway since my new Chevy is far flashier than my old one.

That may be a drawback, yes. But there is a plus to its color too. This one ought to be easy to find in a parking lot.

In the interval between the accident and my acquisition of the new car, I drove a rental car. It was silver, sleek and looked like half the other cars around. The one saving grace that kept me from climbing into a stranger’s vehicle was the rental had Alabama plates.

More than once I spotted what I thought was my ride before realizing the plates read Ohio or Kentucky. Thank goodness I took that second look or I could have ended up in the pokey for attempted car theft.

The best thing about buying a car nearly identical to my demolished one is I’m already familiar with the controls. I know how to turn on the wipers, adjust the lights and put the windows up and down.

The only drawback so far is that since the car was a used model, someone else took care of the radio presets. I have no idea who owned it but I can tell you this about them:

They liked talk radio.

The stereo system allows for a vast number of preset favorites on both the AM and FM channels. As I ran through the stations — off the road, not while driving — I realized there wasn’t much music there.

So I’ve spent the few days since I’ve owned this car locking in stations I like. Ride with me and you have a choice now of country, oldies, Americana, contemporary Christian and a station with a weird mix of everything.

I realize I probably surprised some people with my choice. But I love the body styling of my little faux SUV, adore its handling and even am taken with its burnt sienna/orange/copper color.

And I look at it this way. Eventually I’ll be a little old lady in a dark sedan, clutching the wheel tightly as I cruise at 20 miles an hour from my house to the beauty salon. I figure I might as well live it up while I can — you know, before I become a real embarrassment to my kids.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net.