Monday, November 23, 2009

A Car Named Jimmy

A friend of mine left for a visit to the East Coast this weekend, which got me thinking about my own time living on the other side of the country.

I lived in New England for 8 years – 4 during college and 4 more afterwards. I loved living back East, even in the winter. In fact, the fall and winter were my favorite seasons back there. However, being a SoCal girl, I wasn’t very good a driving in the winter. Since I lived in the “sea coast” area, our winters were not terribly snowy like they are more inland, but they did get very icy. Driving in the ice scared me. My reliable Honda was great, but I wanted something made for that kind of weather. So over time I saved my money in order to buy a “new to me” car.

My dad came out to visit one fall and he took me to buy my first car. (On a side note, my dad was useless at the dealership; not a good wheeler-dealer at all, but that’s another story.) I did however end up with my Jimmy. (Which could be one of the reasons why my dad was not so into this car buying thing being a Ford man and all).


I loved this “new to me” car very, very much. It was so pretty, I sat up much higher than the Honda, and it had 4-wheel drive which I was hoping would help me out in the winter.

Winter came slowly, but when it finally arrived I felt I was ready to face it in my new car. One evening after work it was put to the test. I was devastated though as I drove home and slipped and slid around on the snowy road more than I ever had in my Honda. I was so worried that I got myself into debt for a car that didn’t really work in the snow. I was even more worried about having to to tell my dad that my non-Ford wasn’t working out so well.

My job at the time paid just pennies, so a few nights a week I also bartended. I had regular customers that I got to know well and after the first snow the guys wanted to know how my car faired. I told them my story about the slipping and sliding. This was the gist of the conversation…
Me: It was scarier than it ever was in my Honda. I thought the 4-wheel drive was supposed to make it better.
The guys: That is strange. The 4-wheel drive should be better than the little car. How do you put it into 4-wheel drive? Is there a button or something.
Me: There are some buttons, one that says 4-wheel high and one that says 4-wheel low.
The guys: Which one did you push?
Me: I didn’t push any of them.
The guys: (Laughter)

You see, the Jimmy was in rear-wheel drive all the time unless I put it into 4-wheel drive, pushing one of the buttons. Of course, rear-wheel drive is much worse than front wheel drive in winter weather. Seriously, how was I supposed to know that being from SoCal. Once they showed me how to work it, my car worked like a dream in the snow.

I miss that car. (More Jimmy stories to come.)


  1. I can hardly wait for the one about me!

  2. Now that is a great story! I am glad you liked fall and winter in the north : ) That makes me happy!

  3. I hate driving on icy, snowy roads too, especially around here where we live on hills. I love to ski, but I the reason I don't do more of it is that I hate driving on those mountain roads in winter.

    I learned some technique from my years in Michigan, but translating those skills to hilly Seattle isn't easy.

  4. Hey, I grew up in the snow and ice, driving just regular cars till about 7 years ago. And I would've never have known to push the button for 4 wheel drive if someone didn't tell me!

  5. At least someone told you. My mom had a Jimmy for many years. It was a good car.

  6. CA girls are spoiled when it comes to you are a seasoned New Englander driver. Something you'll never forget.

  7. Thanks for the reminder about winter weather! UGH I hate driving in the snow , four wheel drive or not! But yes, four wheel drive is MUCH better than rear wheel drive!

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