Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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April 18, 2014

Miles and miles of memories

(Photo by Ashley Householder) Sam and his Scion, Xenia

I bought a new car last weekend. It was a stressful but ultimately satisifying experience. It was time, as my old car, a 2005 Scion xB, was approaching 120,000 miles and was nearly 10 years old.

My new car, a Fiat 500 Abarth, is truly a dream car for me, something I've wanted from the moment I first heard it would be sold in this country. But this isn't about the new car.

My Scion, you see, was my first car and for most Americans that's a big deal. Your First Car. You only get one and it's tremendous. Even if you don't love cars in the way that I do I bet you still remember your First Car. It's your first taste of freedom, your first taste of getting away from your parents. It's your ticket to Friday and Saturday night, generally it's the first big item that is "your space." Sure, the title probably has a bank's name and/or Mom or Dad's name on it but it is still yours. You buy the gas, you pay the insurance. You get to set the radio presets and move the seat to where you like it.

Even if the car is an old beater, with rust spots, a sagging headliner and a radio that needs to be banged in just the right place to get reception on your favorite station, a first car holds a special place in your heart.

I am a car person though, I love cars and so for that reason it was all the more tough to say good bye to Xenia, my xB.

A beater, she was not, though. I got Xenia when I was 17 and the fact that I was lucky enough to be getting a brand-new car with 8 miles on it was not lost on me. My father was extremely gracious (and level-headed) and managed to make sure I had something safe and reliable for high school, college and beyond.

This being despite my protests and arguments that it would be much cooler if I had a 20-year-old Volvo with a turbocharged engine.

But he knew better and he was right, the car lasted me nine years and has been a trooper along the way.

That Scion, chosen for it's room, gas mileage and funky styling, took me to two proms, on many dates, to my second job, to college, to my first real world job and so many other trips.

It's been a more stable friend to me than many of the friends that have rode in it. People have come and gone out of it's four doors, and in and out of my life but Xenia has always been there. It has been as much a part of every social circle I've been in since high school.

Of course I was teased, my friends would tell me it was purple but I always corrected them, "Black Cherry Pearl" is what Scion called the color. Not purple. In high school my friends called it a Honda Element, the shoebox or the xBox. In college it was the toaster and KUG (due to the license plate number when the vehicle was registered in Wisconsin).

Xenia was the first place my future wife and I were alone and conversed one-on-one. It took us on our first date, it transported me to her home when we did long distance after college and it took us from our wedding ceremony to our reception.

It's been registered in three states and lived with me in four different ones. It moved the contents of my two dorm rooms and one apartment, as well as parts of three other residences. It's carried furniture, fireworks, friends, camera equipment, drunk people (it was always a roomy Designated Driver car) and pets.

It's been a constant companion, always there when I needed it, always starting when I needed it, it never left me stranded and always blasted the right CD to fit my mood. Even with it's low ground height, it never got stuck in harsh winter storms until this winter.

Three sets of tires, lots of oil changes and a couple of bumpers (only once my fault, I promise). Xenia was a trooper, a true first car. Sure she doesn't have the speed, the sportiness or the technology of my new ride but I will miss her. She was good to me and for me.

Now I hope that she goes on, receives the TLC she needs and can go on and faithfully serve someone else for another ten years.

As for me, I look forward to 100,000+ miles of memories in my new new Fiat, which I'm still taking name suggestions for. It has to be a female name, Italian-sounding and start with "F" or "A."

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Daniel Riordan has been writing for newspapers since he was 16. Previous newspaper stops include Warsaw and Plymouth. He joined The Goshen News in March 2013 and is enjoying getting to know the city. He has up to this point been able to resist any urge to watch cat videos on YouTube.

I am a journalist for The Goshen News in Goshen, Ind. I handle regional news and am the digital content editor.

Shelly Wilfong is the director of the International Baccalaureat Degree program at Goshen High School in Goshen, Ind.

David Vantress is sports editor at The Goshen News. He is a 1994 journalism graduate of San Diego State University. David has opinions and isn't afraid to share them.

Sam Householder is the chief photographer at The Goshen News. He is a 2010 graduate of Ball State University, with a bachelor's degree in photojournalism. He lives in Goshen with his fiancee, Ashley, and their cat, Rascal.

Roger Schneider is city editor for The Goshen News. He enjoys bicycling, fishing and photography.

Scott Weisser is entertainment and emergency services editor for The Goshen News.