My Rez Car

Aug 15th, 2008 | By | Category: Student 2008

By Andrea Goodwin

Crazy-fun moments fill my memory with unforgettable images when I think of my 1990 Buick Le Sabre.  It is a fairly cheap joy considering how many miles I’ve driven it.  Seven-hundred dollars, one year and three months of joy, that’s what I call an unbeatable deal.  A rolling joy, my car is everything to me.

When I heard the words “you pass” from the driver’s license examiner, relief flooded my body, and I couldn’t help but smile.  Instantly, I knew I had to save money for a vehicle.  Four weeks and two paychecks later, I had $700.  I was driving in my mom’s car on Irvine Avenue when I spotted my future car. I took that 1990 Buick Le Sabre for a test ride.  Overly excited, I didn’t care about its flaws.  I only wanted it to be mine.  The car was originally marked for $850.  I decided it was worth a try to ask the owner to lower the price; he did!  Since that day, I’ve had a car to call my own.

If you look at every little flaw, my car may appear to be an old junker; but if you look at it as a whole, it really is not that bad.  As the sun hits my shiny blue and boxy car, it glitters.  As I speed down the road, the wind whips paint chips right off my car, leaving them as dust, creating paint-less spots.  Screws that once held my driver’s side door panel on are now the only thing you see because the door panel is missing.  Due to a bent back window that won’t roll completely up air seeps in, creating a howling sound that gets louder the faster I go.  Ever since my dad drove my car, I can’t seem to get the blinkers to work, so I have to use hand signals.  On the bottom of my windshield, there are two long cracks, traveling in opposite directions.

My limited edition car was made for luxury when it hit the market eighteen years ago, so it has a lot of space in it.  This one time I had three people including myself in the front and five people in the back. We were jam-packed.  The big seats allow my friends and me to sit comfortably as we sink into the softness of the padded cushions.  My car even has electronic touch climate control, which allows me to change the temperature with ease.  I can electronically roll my windows up and down, but occasionally, they get stuck.

From the first time I stomped the gas pedal, I knew that my rez car and I would be inseparable.  I remember one morning driving to school with a couple of friends and looking at the iced lake.  I decided that’s where I wanted to be.  Once my wheels hit the ice, I let my foot go heavy.  Going fast, I was carrying on like kids will do.  Ignoring the plowed trail, I went careening into the deep snow. Knowing that if I slowed down we would get stuck, I kept the speed at a constant pace of about 45 mph.

About half way across the lake, I hit an ice ridge.  I laughed as my head hit the ceiling.  Then, still laughing from the previous jump, we hit a bigger ice ridge.  This time my butt was completely off the seat!  After we got off the lake, I stopped at E-Z Stop, a nearby gas station. Looking for any new scratches or dents, I noticed that my bumper was completely torn off!  Even so, having that much fun on the ice, I knew I had to go on it again.

One extremely hot day, I was giving a friend a jump when anti-freeze started spraying out of the radiator. Although I knew there was a problem, I didn’t get it fixed until two and a half weeks later!  Now I care about my car so much that whenever it needs something I make sure to get it.  I had to get a new fan when my car started to overheat.  One day, my car wouldn’t start, so I fixed that problem by buying a new starter.  When my tires blew out, I got new ones.  The paint on my car chips off, so occasionally, I buy spray paint.  When my car died once, I brought it back to life with a new battery.  Sometimes my muffler falls off, making the engine unbelievably loud.  I’ve had to have my dad weld it back on three times!  Then there was the tape player, a thing of the past, so I replaced it with a Pioneer CD player.  Out with the old, in with the new; that’s what I call an upgrade.

Despite all of my car’s flaws, it’s still my prize possession.  I love everything about it from the rearview mirror to the engine.  The road will never end for me as long as I have my rez car.   A rolling joy, my car is everything to me.

“I am Anishinaabe and an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota.  I’m from the Ma’iingan (Wolf) clan.  My Ojibwe name is Oshkii’baagaawasimo which means ‘green light’ and my hometown is Bemidji, MN.”

Amanda Goodwin, 19, is a freshman at Leech Lake Tribal College.  She plans to graduate in the spring of 2009 with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Education-STEM Emphasis ( STEM meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

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