Betsy got a Jeep. It was brand new and teal, but only two-wheel drive and no CD player because they couldn’t afford more. It was her first new car, the one she knew would hold car seats and tricycles and crushed Cheerios and sticky juice boxes. They got it after the wedding. When Betsy was 16, she wrote in her diary “I am going to marry K— D—” but he married someone else. It had been years, and she was around 30, when she saw him at another wedding and he was just divorced and destroyed and she set about making her prediction come true.

Betsy was pretty, but not beautiful. She was not complex, but she could make you laugh, and you just loved her. The perfect salve for his broken heart. Betsy was a manicurist, so she spent her college money on the wedding, and that was OK. Everybody knew that all Betsy wanted was to be his wife and a mommy and that was fine because it’s not that often that you get to see people’s dreams come true. She got the man and, later, two little girls to put in her Jeep.

The little girls grew and he got a sports car and she got a minivan for bigger girls and bicycles and friends. She couldn’t part with her Jeep, so it sat there for a couple of years, a yellow and blue fish, preschool art, hanging from the rearview on fuzzy red yarn, and fading slowly.

Betsy’s girls were four and six and she had a lump and then she was gone, just like that. And Betsy’s Jeep was there and he was there and he didn’t need three cars and he couldn’t function. So I asked if I could buy her Jeep, to help him with the funeral, so he wouldn’t have to worry about it, so it would stay in the family. And just to have Betsy’s Jeep because of what it meant to her and what she meant to me. I took down the fish because the little girls wanted it and it made them happy that they’d still see Mommy’s Jeep when I visited.

People would say it was old, and I would say it was Betsy’s Jeep. And they would say it’s not environmentally correct, and I would say it was Betsy’s Jeep. And I put my big dog in it and huge bags of potting soil and stuff I got at the Goodwill.

Betsy was my sister-in-law.

********************************** is a blog where a girl can go to get answers to her questions about anything that has to do with cars. You can submit a story about a car and win free registration to the annual BlogHer Conference in Chicago from July 27-29, 2007. (The prize doesn’t include airfare or accommodations.)

[Addendum, July 4th: I submitted the piece above to the AskPatty contest and it was one of only four entries posted on the site! Here's the winner. Links to the other two.]