I know this is trivial compared to a lot of other people’s problems. But today I saw this happen:

it was my dad’s first new car, a 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 convertible. It was parked and garaged in 1980 since it was already starting to rust in some not very good locations, with the intention of “eventually” restoring it. I remember when I was about 4 or 5 when my dad would fire it up every once in a while; I was fascinated with the sequential turn signals. It’s one reason I ordered a 2010 Mustang when they went on sale (not joking.) When we moved 9 years later, my dad got it running and drivable again, and my grandmother said we could keep it in her garage. I did little things here and there to keep it roadworthy, and when I got my license I finally got to drive it. I took it to work a few times (I worked at an auto shop) and school once or twice. But even then, it was on the verge of being doomed. When it was my dad’s daily driver, it had been rear-ended and repaired a few times, and was also used to pull/launch his small fishing boat. Well, ‘70s Fords were rust-prone as it was, and the collision repairs combined with repeated dunkings at the boat launch meant the rear of the car was rotting away fast. The driver’s side B-pillar was separating from the floor and rocker box, so the whole side of the car shook when you closed the door. When I had it at work, I put it up on a lift and the entire underside was basically rust-colored and flaking, and the floorpan was rusted out all along its outer edges.

then, relatives moved into my grandmother’s house and needed the garage space, so the car was parked outside. We knew that being exposed to the elements wasn’t going to be good for it, so about 10 years ago we put out some feelers to see if anyone wanted to buy it for restoration. One guy came out, looked underneath, chuckled a bit, and said “I could give you $300.” My dad thought that was insulting, but I knew that it was only a parts car at that point. but nobody wanted to make the call to send it off. We should have taken his offer.


then last week, I got a call from my uncle, who said rats had gotten into it. Rats are a growing problem in my city, and the city will fine you (repeatedly) if you have something harboring rats on your property and don’t do anything about it. we came to terms with the fact that if rats were getting in, the whole underside of the car was more or less gone at this point, so I found a local pick-n-pull who would pay something for it and come get it. It’s been years since I’ve been able to do anything with the car, and I hate looking at that pic of it on the flatbed. It was supposed to be my car, but we never had anywhere near enough money to restore it into something that could be a daily driver. So with that, here’s a picture I took of it 20 years ago, probably one of the last year it was on the road.

edit: here’s another pic from today. it’s my mom and dad, standing by the car they drove from their wedding to the reception. sometimes you need to just let go, but it fucking sucks when you have to do it.