May 22, 2012

Goodbye Old Friend.......

I never thought this day would happen.  That one day I would do this.  But alas, I went and did it.

I was one of the very few who held on for as long as I did, but sadly, it was time to say goodbye.  And the amazing thing is, the story of how it came to be, is just as interesting as it came to go out.  I bequeath my torch unto "66" and my good buddies Chris and Dave, as well as Paul from the MINI club.  Everyone I know from the "original" group has either sold theirs or moved on to MINI 2.0 or 3.0.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a MINI.  In my circle of friends (both through acquaintances, family friends, distant relatives, and new ones), I became the guy with the MINI.  Every time I would see these people after a long hiatus, I was always asked, “Hey! Do you still have that little MINI Cooper?”  And like clockwork and without missing a beat, I would always say, “Yep, still got him.”

I named my car Petey  (after the dead bird from Dumb and Dumber who seeks revenge on the two dimwits and in my mind thought would go on a ghostly adventure to find them) - it was short for Pete – from The Adventures of Pete and Pete – a TV show so weird and off-the-wall, it just fit my personality.  It served as an analogy of me – crazy, hair-brained, sometimes stupid, unpredictable, say anything, do anything type of guy.

My MINI changed styles over the years as I grew.  One of my favorite stories is that I used to have these little South Park characters on my dash, and a South Park snow globe on my dash, as well as these stuffed characters from the show.  Well, after my first “nightly encounter” with a lady, I came back out to my car and thought how retarded they were.  Like I had done the movie cliché of “dude gets poonany for the first time and becomes a man” type of thing.  But after that night?  The stuffed characters and dash figures were out of my car.

I came into possession of my MINI in March of 2002 in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  I won’t bore you with all of the details of that day (you can ask if you want to hear it in person), but a car dealership from Hot Springs was in Florida for a car show and saw these little Coopers from across the pond and figured they would be the new “thing” in the US.  They bought three of them and shipped them back to Arkansas and even put out an ad in the Arkansas Times Gazette as having the only 3 in the entire state of Arkansas.  I had been studying these cars for awhile now, and always loved the underdog nature of the MINI.  The little engine that could rally.  And rally well.

I ended up buying the base Cooper they brought in from Florida at age 20 (they had an S for $32,000 dollars and a CVT automatic for $28,000 to give you a price estimation around that time).  I can remember fondly being a young kid on a jobsite in Hattiesburg, MS (just south of Memphis) when I got the call that I was the proud new owner of a new MINI Cooper.  I remember going back to the Motel 6 where our crew was staying for the week and signing and faxing paperwork back and forth after work to finalize the deal.
After that, I proceeded to put on 128,000 hard miles on that car.  I drifted on gravel/dirt roads, I took him off-road a few times,  I went down roads cars weren’t supposed to, all in the spirit of exploring and finding adventures as a young 20-something year old kid.

There are certain moments along the way that I will never forget, that changed who I was as a person.  I’m not going to sit here and say I was always a glowing child of positivity in my travels, I did make some mistakes, but I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to those people (even if they don’t read this) for what that stupid, idiotic, naïve little man did to hurt his friends at the time.

I’ll always remember my time at the Addison Flying Saucer.  My plate will always be there.  I know it’s filled with mostly gibberish, but it should say thank you to everyone who ever came up to the Saucer and had a beer with me.  There are so many amazing memories there; it’s almost as if the Saucer is the glue to about 5 years of my life.

I’ll remember those long, dark, tree covered roads in rural Arkansas that I drove by myself at 2 o’clock in the morning.  Those roads led me down new paths and let me soak in the cool night air.

I’ll remember of course Metroplex MINI (which reminds me I need to just go delete my account now), my home away from home.  I’m proud to call a lot of people who I met there my very close friends.  I would not be where I am right now if it wasn’t for the people of that club and of the club itself.  I’ve burned a few bridges with people in my time, but looking back on where I was headed with alcohol and what I was doing to people with it, I needed to do what I did (which is break away from it).
In a separate category, I have to put in the Hill Country Rendezvous.  And before you think back to the asshattery that went on in 2007, my most profound moment from that group down in Fredricksburg is the first time my brother and I ever went to the first one.  We woke up at 4am to drive from Dallas down to Fredricksburg, then had to drive 30 minutes away that night to find a hotel room because we didn’t reserve a room in advance (didn’t think it was needed).  Yeah, we were young.  But two brothers driving MINI’s through livestock and over cow-guards; it was an incredible trip.

Then, came what happened at HCR 2007. Most of you reading this were there, so I don’t need to say too much about this.  What happened on that trip, stayed on that trip (except for Brookman’s video tape, which gets a free pass).  I had the opportunity to do some very bad things on this trip.  Luckily I was straight-headed enough to not do them (which some would say I needed to drink more).

And finally, I will continue to remember my friends.  This is a given.  We will continue down this path called life, and our friendships will continue to grow bigger and bigger.

For a few of you out there, you probably are saying you “don’t get it” or “it’s just a car”?  Well, it was a MINI, and MINI’s aren’t in the same category as Toyota Corollas or Priuses.  They aren’t even on the same planet.
I think back over the amazing times that we shared Petey, as a young starry-eyed boy with a full tank of gas and an empty co-pilot seat could drive out into the world and find so much more.

As time wore on though, so did your problems.  Ailments, issues, things that needed replacing; it all added up to be too much for me at one time.  I guess I needed instant results.  Too much money to buy this one thing that would fix a little part of you, but not enough to make the whole picture worth driving again.  It was sad.  It was like seeing that puppy grow up with so much vigor and pep in his step that towards the end of its life, you just hurt to see how miserable it is just sitting in the driveway begging to go out one last time.  Sorry buddy.  Not today.  Maybe some other time.

Well, that time never came.

So with a heavy heart…….I finally had to sell my MINI Cooper Petey.  It’s been 10 years since I got him.

10. Years.

I basically had a 10 year old kid.

Yes, you could say I abandoned a 10 year old kid and I’m a horrible imaginary father, but you would be retarded.  I’m not.
I want to thank everyone who got to ride in my car, got to see it, and was part of the process that makes MINI, well, MINI.  You were either there to support me on an idea, or you were there pushing me to sell it after it had run its course:  Thank you guys.

I hope to adjust to MINI-less life soon.  It still feels weird to go out to the garage and not see those little front headlamps glaring back at me.

As far as the money is concerned, I now plan on finishing Dove Meadow Brewing Company with the money, and pay off some much needed credit cards and maybe do a little home improvement.  After that though, we’ll see what the next 10 years hold……