Monday, July 12, 2010
Ode to a car
The first time I ever got a glimpse of Mike Cherry was two weeks after I started my internship at the Daily Mail back in May of 2000. I was standing out front with Todd Frankel (probably smoking a cigarette, though both of us are now reformed...) when a shiny silver sports car passed by. I will never forget what Todd said to me: That's Mike Cherry. He covers WVU for us. He just bought that car. But he lives in an attic apartment without a stove.
Two years later, after having become good friends with Mike, I got a coveted invite to one of the infamous Hatteras trips. Problem was, he was going down on Saturday with a group of friends, but Deanna and I couldn't go until Tuesday. And Mike really wanted that car at the beach.... So he decided to let us girls drive it from West Virginia to the Outer Banks. Eight hours. Alone. Everyone, and I mean, everyone, thought he had lost his mind.
In the weeks leading up to the big day, Mike gave me lessons. I mean, the S2000 was his baby, after all. He made me go to a baseball game he was covering in Logan. Yes, Logan. So I could practice on windy roads. It was during these little trips that I started thinking I might like Mike Cherry a little more than a friend. And it was on that beach trip, that he figured it out too. He and I drove back together in that car. The picture above I took of him on that drive, drumming on the steering wheel, top down, happy. I remember the song that was playing when we pulled into Charleston: If I Ever Lose My Faith by Sting. And I remember that even after eight hours in the car, I hadn't had enough of him, so I invited him over for pizza.
Later that summer, that car would take us to Newport, Rhode Island, and Cape Cod, and on our first of many trips to Savannah. Later, we went to Charleston, South Carolina, and to Detroit and Baltimore for concerts. I drove to Florida in it one New Year's Eve to meet up with Mike who was covering the Gator Bowl. We drove home together and on the way, he proposed to me in Savannah.
It wasn't much longer before Mike had to lift me out of that thing when I was pregnant with Julia.
I hadn't really been in it much in recent years. It's not exactly equipped with room for a car seat. And I sometimes thought it was too loud. But Mike still drove it every day, logging more than 200,000 miles.
He loved that car. And so did I. It's so much a part of our story.
And now it belongs to Mike's nephew, my nephew, Nick. It will probably be hard for a while for me not seeing it sitting in the driveway. But it makes my heart happy that it's with Nick. Mike adored Nick. He would want Nick to have it, to have as much fun in it as he did...
(A stop on the way to the Outer Banks, 2000. Rick Gano, Jody Jividen, Todd Frankel, Marina Hendricks, Jeff D'Alessio and Mike)
(At our townhouse in Fort Hill, 2004)
(Mike and Nick, Easter 2010)