Sunday, August 24, 2014

An Out Pore-ing of Appreciation

I have owned only two cars in my life. Both Oldsmobiles. Both spanking new when I bought ’em.

I know, I know. Drive off the lot—depreciation.

But I drive my car until it nickles and dimes me to death, like my ’87 Calais did, or it looks like an old tin can, like my ’99 Alero does now if you get too close to it.

I call it my rat trap. My husband calls it the space shuttle because he has a hard time fitting into it—roof too low. Next week, I'll write more about this faithful car of 15 years and the people who helped me when it was involved in two different accidents.

The poor Alero has a lot of chipped paint now. She got a bad paint job after my neighbor girl, who was not paying attention, hit my driver’s side back door on the way to school one day. The students outside heard the crash. This was long before I was married.

Only a little over a year old, the Alero received more than just a boo-boo in October 2000.

My second accident? My fault. Location: Zoo Boulevard and 21st Street exit ramp. Slow crash. When high schooler Kristen Allen asked me what happened, I told the truth. “I was stupid. Rear-ended some guy's pick-up when I was not paying attention.” No damage to the pick-up. Again, long before I was married. I have no pictures of my stupidity.

My husband is handy-dandy, even with mechanical issues, but all those years I was single, I depended on my dad, who was 600 miles away; Tom Nixon or Jim Kitchen, my car mechanics of choice at the Cheney Coop; or my insurance agent, Steve Pore.

Steve Pore
Next week, Steve is leaving as an agency owner after 37 years. I believe Farmers Insurance will treat me well, but I’ll miss the trusted voice on the other end of the phone.

Steve always put relationship first, never made me feel dumb for asking, patiently explained the differences between coverage plans, and talked me through home owners insurance when I bought my house.

When I wanted to move due dates around so it was not due in June when my car tags were, or in November when I was saving for Christmas presents, or in March when I wanted extra money to travel home for spring break, he worked with me.

Steve's response when I called him in 2000 when my car got hit? First he asked if I was okay, which I was, then he said, “Get off the phone, call your family and let them know what happened, and then call me right back.”

When I got my first speeding ticket (going 50-something in a 35--again, paying attention), Steve talked me through how long it would be before my insurance rate would get down to normal again.

And finally, after many years of Steve patiently encouraging me to do the one lump sum yearly payment and save money in the long run, I was able to. A Crown Financial Ministries study and Dave Ramsey course taught me to manage money better, but Steve never quit reminding me in his fatherly way.

On behalf of this ignorant girl you talked through insurance issues with, thanks Steve, for being a trusted adviser for my automobile and home insurance needs.

I'll miss hearing your voice on the other end of the phone when I finally save up enough money to buy the third new car of my life.

4 comments:

  1. Melodie, It's amazing how we are blessed with special people who influence our lives. We have to remember to be grateful and appreciate our friends while they are close to us. Liz

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    1. The older I get, Liz, the more I look back on people whose seemingly small acts impacted me.

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  2. I still have, and treasure the letter you sent me back in the 80's. I had tried teaching in the St. Louis area before returning to South Dakota in 1974. Real paper letters are very scarce now, so I will continue to let yours keep a space in my treasure box. Bob W.

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    1. I too have a box of mementos like that. Spurs me on. I'm glad my public post found its way to you! When I linked it on my Facebook page, many Hitchcock people responded with fond memories of your role in their lives as well. Ironically, I received a note from a former student this week too. Precious.

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