Living in Society

One Car Family

1997 Subaru Legacy Outback on the last day of ownership.

The coronavirus pandemic made a couple of things clear. I didn’t need to work outside home unless I wanted, and we didn’t need two vehicles.

I bought the used 1997 Subaru Legacy Outback in 2013 after I sold my pickup truck to our daughter. These Outbacks have a reputation as reliable and this one demonstrated the accuracy of the moniker. There were issues with the aging vehicle, the most serious of which was an overheating problem. It was repairable to the extent the car became what we call “a beater.” At 218,890 miles, those of us who drive a Subaru know at some point before 300,000 miles, the engine and transmission are going to go. After that the automobile becomes scrap because of a lack of repair parts availability.

The main use of our second car was getting me to work; hauling straw bales, soil mix and fertilizer for the garden; and basic transportation in and around Eastern Iowa. I delivered a few shares for the community supported agriculture project, worked on political campaigns, and generally supported household operations. The car was a work horse.

When it came to getting rid of it, the increased age of the vehicle had me worried about selling it to someone I know. The differential was acting up, the hatchback only sporadically opened, and… it was old. Someone else might want to drive a beater. I didn’t want the responsibility of being the previous owner.

I decided to donate the vehicle to Iowa Public Radio. I had been hearing the advertisements on the air for a while and they take old vehicles:

When you donate a vehicle to benefit Iowa Public Radio, you actually turn your car into the news and music you rely on and love. Donate your vehicle, and we’ll use the proceeds to support your favorite programs like Morning Edition and Talk of Iowa, plus the great variety of music you hear daily on IPR. This gift makes a difference at Iowa Public Radio.

Donating a car is fast, easy and secure. Iowa Public Radio accepts any vehicle – running or not – including cars, trucks, boats, RVs, motorcycles, and more. We work with our public radio colleagues at Charitable Adult Rides & Services (CARS) to ensure that your donation delivers the highest possible revenue to Iowa Public Radio and that your experience is convenient, efficient and even fun.

Iowa Public Radio website.

Public radio was a major part of my weekends for many years. I turned it on in the garage and took my solar powered radio with me out to the garden. I turned it on while preparing Saturday dinner in the kitchen. I recall Garrison Keillor’s “last show” on June 13, 1987. I set the cassette recorder to record the show then took our daughter for a walk. When we returned, the show had run over and I missed the last part. As we know, Keillor came back for a second version of the show. Like him or not, I was a fan.

Public radio doesn’t have the revenue to buy big shows like that any longer. The format is talk-oriented, and the string of Saturday music shows like Mountain Stage and A Prairie Home Companion were replaced by an aging guy and his eclectic record collection.

I feel good about donating the Subaru to Iowa Public Radio. It was the biggest financial donation I made to them. I took the last trip on Monday to deliver garden produce to the community food pantry. The vehicle reliably served its purpose, which is what a person wants from an automobile.

We are a one car family now.

2 replies on “One Car Family”

I thought my 2004 VW was an old beater, and all along you had me covered with that Subaru! I’m close to thinking its time will come soon for mine to go, though it’s still needed once or twice a month for something with my non-driving teenager or some non-driving older friends.
It’s fading into the past and I’m filling my shallow memory shoals with more recent stuff, but I could once easily bore you and two more people with public radio stories.

Liked by 1 person

Funny about the VW. Our one car is now a 2002 Subaru that just turned over 100,000 miles yesterday. I don’t like the changes at Public Radio but what is there to do about it? As I tried to say in the post, it meant a lot to me for a long time. To compensate, I bought the “new” CD by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. It arrived today. Take care!


Comments are closed.