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Mother Knows Best

Buying a new car meant getting rid of the old one, my mom’s. It was like saying goodbye to her all over again…

“Mother always knows best.” Mom told me that many times, about lots of things, including her car. “I can’t really explain why I picked this one,” she said of her new, 1991 silver Honda Civic, “but somehow it just feels right to me.”

When Mom died unexpectedly a few months later, the car became mine. I drove that Civic for the next eight years and 165,000 miles. I’d have driven that car forever. Every time I climbed in the driver’s seat, I thought of Mom.

Eventually, though, the car began to wear down. Its repair costs began to resemble a hospital bill. Hard as it was, it was time to say goodbye to the car—and, in a way, goodbye all over again to Mom.

I decided pretty quickly on a Nissan this time, an Altima. But I couldn’t decide on the color. Gold or black? “Let me take the black one for a test drive,” I told the sales rep. I drove it around the block. Something about it just didn’t feel right, though I couldn’t explain why. In fact, sitting in the driver’s seat, I felt a bit ill.

“Can I try the gold one?” I asked.

“Sure,” the sales rep said. I took the car for a spin. I felt fine. Maybe, I thought, it’s a sign. “I’ll take the gold one,” I said.

After finishing with the paperwork, the sales rep walked me to the door. “Oh, by the way,” he said, as I climbed into the car, “there’s a number engraved on your key. That’s your key code. If you ever need a replacement key, you’ll need that number. So write it down.”

As I pulled away from the dealership, I spotted my old Civic in the rearview mirror. “Bye, Mom,” I said.

Twenty minutes later, I was back home. In the kitchen, I grabbed a notepad and pen, and studied the four-digit key code.

I put down the pen. “Mother always knows best,” I said, with a smile. The key code was Mom’s birth year. I didn’t need to write it down.

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