Our 1991 Honda Accord is a good car. It’s powerful, it’s clean, it only has a little rust and we drove it from Calgary to Toronto and back this past summer without any problems. Before the trip east, we invested in some used tires, new rear brakes, an alignment and a customary oil change. Following our return to Calgary, we needed to drive to a friend’s wedding in Kelowna. So we shined up Old Arthur (the Accord’s alias), giving him a wash and a hand-wax job. Halfway to Kelowna, somewhere in Glacier National Park just east of Rogers Pass, Arthur’s engine light came on and the car sputtered to a stop. I knew what this was. A couple of years before, Arthur took a rest on the Trans-Canada between Calgary and Brooks. A fuse to the Electrical Control Unit had blown and when replaced, continued to blow. Arthur was towed to a shop in Revelstoke where he received a spa treatment for the weekend while our rental car took us to our destination. When we returned to Revelstoke to pick up Old Arthur, the mechanic told us that there was nothing they could find to fix anywhere. The fuse blew and they didn’t know why. What’s more is that the mechanics weren’t able to make the fuse rupture again. With a replacement piece of metal and plastic rated at 15 amps that cost us only $1.00, Arthur rolled all the way from Revelstoke back to Calgary.
This past weekend, my wife and I were scheduled to take part in a murder mystery dinner hosted by friends. I was to be cast as a Hollywood stuntman whose latest role was a Roman gladiator. On the day of the event, my wife stayed home from work due to illness and as a result, I called upon some other friends to fill our roles.
On Saturday, Deona sat down for some personal reading with a book that introduces a character who has recently died and begins a series of encounters with people in the afterlife. The first person that the protagonist meets in the afterlife is a person that he recognizes as someone that he killed. Yes, it sounds somewhat eerie, but Deona couldn’t put the book down.
It is somewhat of a coincidence that while she was reading, I was working on a draft of my will. Recently, I finished reading both The Wealthy Barber and the sequel, The Wealthy Barber Returns, personal financial planning advice from David Chilton. In the books, Chilton says that a will is an essential pillar of any financial plan.
Deona and I reflected for a little while on the common theme to our weekend. Murder Mystery, book about death, writing a will. Later on Saturday evening while we were out with friends, we talked about the ill-welcomed topic of thought. Strange to have those thoughts.
Sunday was a sunny day. It was well above normal for a late September day in Calgary. It was so nice that we even sat in short sleeves on a restaurant patio for lunch after church. Later that afternoon, Deona’s sister and brother-in-law came by because they would spend the night with us before flying to Mexico the next morning. They wanted to take us out for dinner to say thanks and to take the opportunity to go out while the kids were being babysat. The four of us piled into Arthur. We rolled downtown and then the rolling stopped. The fuse blew again. I was able to park the car in a safe and accessible place for the tow truck. The next morning Arthur went under the knife. It was a long and arduous surgery; I hope Arthur took the anesthetic. “Well Steve,” said the mechanic, “I don’t know what to tell you.”
Arthur is running again with a new fuse, but the mechanic couldn’t find the source of the problem. With that, Deona and I have decided to put him into a retirement home. He’ll go to a new place with a new owner. One that can give him his medication and the care that he needs until he passes on. 312,000 thousand kilometers is a good life for a car. He’s done well - he’s earned his retirement.