Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Remembrance of Things Past
I just returned from work and am making an entry. I set up my old home page on the roadrunner cablemodem service again. I uploaded some pics from the past few years onto it so I can comment on them here.

"Evocative" means to bring back old memories for me. I like to reminisce, thus I went through some old evocative pictures from our digital files. I first purchased an Olympus 2500c 2.5 megapixel camera back in 2000 or so - it cost me probably about 2 grand - it was a piece of shit camera - slow, grainy, buggy. I got rid of it by giving it to the Salvation Army a couple of years ago. I also scanned some pics since 1997 into low-res digital format so we could have pictures from the time of our son's birth in the computer. So now we have pictures from 1997 til now on harddisk on my wife's computer - neatly laid out thumbnailed files. If time allows, it would be great to scan in every photo we had into the computer.


There are important images which mean more to one personally than it does to others - like pictures of our first car, a 1991 Honda Civic Wagon which we named "Herbie." I purchased the gun-metal colored '91 Civic wagon at Crown Honda in Chapel Hill back in 1991 new.

The Dealership Where Herbie Was Purchased

It cost around $12,000 then but paid a bit over $13,000 with the financing - my dad paid it off for me a year later. It was a great car with just one major handicap - there were no signals to let you know that you left your headlights on - whenever it rained and I ran the headlights, or the headlights were on for whatever reason, I ran the risk of leaving the lights on and draining the batteries. I must have replaced Herbie's batteries at least a half-dozen times.

I called it Herbie since we first met back around 1991. This car became more like a part of the family, or a family pet, than a car to us. Back in 1991 I drove Herbie up into Philadelphia (my college town), then up north to Boston and Vermont to attend the Marlboro music festival and Tanglewood. Herbie helped me drive a friend of my mom's, a long-time violist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, back and forth during that Tanglewood season. My wife and I drove it up to W.Virginia to go rafting down the Gauley River and the New River, sleeping inside it and fogging up the windows by morning. We drove it up North on I-95 going all the way into Maine, then farther, into Fundy National Park and Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia Canada back in 1993. I put a 2.5x4cm dent into Herbie's rear right corner when I backed him into the post of a tentsite at Cape Breton Highlands. I seriously threw my back out sleeping with my foot propped up on the steering wheel at Baxter State Park in Maine.

We drove out West through St.Louis, into Kansas City and Nebraska, camped out in South Dakota - in the Badlands and near Rushmore. We drove further into Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park, seeing the ominous hulking figures of Bison lurching along the roads around midnight. Herbie himself was under attack by a large male Bison near WindCave National Park. Herbie saw the Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon.

I received my first speeding ticket while driving Herbie just outside of Greensboro back in 1994 - an earnest young highway patrolman clocked me going 107mph on I-85. I had to get a lawyer to help me avoid felony speeding charges (cost me $350) - I was on my way from Charlotte to visit my girlfriend in Chapel Hill (my wife now). Herbie moved my wife's belongings to my apartment when we decided to live together during med school. Herbie saw my wife through residency. We mounted a set of Yakima bike racks onto Herbie and went mountain-biking all over NC. Herbie brought our first child home from the hospital for us. Herbie helped move us into our first house back in 1997. Herbie took my wife, me and our first child on his first camping trip to the Great Smoky National Park (Cade's Cove) back in 1997 - Yes, we indeed took a 3 month old camping despite bitter cold nights, ferocious storms, and the danger of bears - probably not a wise choice.

Our Little 3 month-old Sherpa Guide at Cade's Cove in '97

Herbie received a devastating collision when a neighbor of my parents backed up his large truck into the right frontal wheel area back in around 1997. He received a second devastating collision when my old father was driving him home from repairs from that first collision and forgot to look bothways before entering a road in Charlotte. We tried fixing Herbie up the best we could, going to 2 or 3 different independent garages and 2 different Honda dealerships. We drove Herbie around despite rattling brakes and wheels for another 6 years.

I drove Herbie back and forth from Charlotte to Asheville and Asheboro doing locum tenens work over a couple of years. I drove Herbie through thick icy snow without problems in the winter-times. Herbie's air-conditioning freon was going strong during Summertimes to the end of his days. My wife used Herbie to commute for work several years without complaints. With our second baby 2 years ago, we realized that we had not only out-grown Herbie, but he was a clear danger with his rattling brakes and off-aligned wheels. We finally decided to purchase a Honda Pilot to replace Herbie and watched a kindly old man from AAA haul him away for $400 trade-in. We were very sad at his departure and took some final pictures: