For me, vehicle-wise, it is all about just keeping things in the family.
A little more than eight years ago, I went to Russellville, Ala., and purchased a small pick-up truck owned by my Uncle Fred. He couldn't drive any longer due to his health.
That 1992 GMC Sonoma has been good to me. It still runs well, and its emotional ties make me want to keep driving it all over the county and sometimes beyond. It only has 125,000 miles on it.
Recently, Pam and I have been talking about a vehicle for our youngest, Erin, who just turned 16, and then possibly an upgrade for myself, in that order. That's when another family opportunity changed our plans a bit.
Pam's brother Mike had been in Dallas, Texas, visiting their Uncle Jim, age 85. Mike told us Jim was wanting to sell a pick-up truck that was owned by his son Jeff, who was killed in the spring of last year in a motorcycle accident.
Mike had access to some photos of the 2005 Ford F150. I liked what I saw and gave Uncle Jim a call to find out more about the truck.
After lots of discussion and financial figuring, we called Uncle Jim back about a week later and told him we would be coming January 5-6 to likely get the truck.
Mike drove down from Nashville, Tenn., to drive us the 500 miles to Dallas.
We left Holly Springs at 6 a.m. and it was 13 degrees. When we got to Uncle Jim's house, it was 63 degrees and people were walking their dogs in the neighborhood, others were out jogging, and some children were playing in the yards.
After sharing some special hugs with Uncle Jim, who Pam and I had not seen in many years, he asked us if we were ready to test-drive the truck.
We didn't go far. I had no intention of getting back on the interstate at about 4 p.m. on Friday. So we just rode around, checking out the truck and checking out the neighborhood.
I loved the truck. Sure, it needed a little touch-up here and there on the outside. But it only had 78,500 miles on it.
And for me, I was moving up in the world, 13 years to be exact, from a 1992 model to a 2005.
Getting back to Uncle Jim's after the brief test-drive, we checked it out under the hood. And he answered a few more questions.
We met some of his nice neighbors.
Then we went back into the house to start talking about dinner, and Uncle Jim, asked, "Well, what do you think about the truck?"
Quickly, I said, "I think I will take it."
Of course, I knew before we ever drove to Texas that I was going to purchase the Ford. That's because this was a family thing, and it was just meant to be.
We enjoyed an excellent dinner at Celebration, a nice restaurant near Uncle Jim's house. After dinner and back at the house, we spent a few special hours together just reminiscing.
Pam and I then had to leave for our hotel room. Uncle Jim walked out with us and watched us drive away.
Sad, yes, but even more so, we smiled as the truck was staying in the family, just as we know Uncle Jim wanted.