Extraordinary stories from everyday life.


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Country Club Lane || Monday, 8.30am

The Project progresses: I brought home a truck last week.

Everything I care for needs a name. This proud, white, bestial vehicle, a '93 Jeep Cherokee Sport, having discarded its former generic catalogue entry of a name, will henceforth be known as General Sherman.

Or just “the General.”

Driving the General is like riding a horse. (I imagine.) Thanks to the narrow drive shaft, his turns are precipitous; I have to lean hard to the right when merging onto the freeway. The shocks aren’t in terrible shape, but it’s still a bouncy ride for someone used to the freight train sensation of driving a Volvo.

He’s undeniably old. He’s lighter on his wheels than anything newer or more solid. These are reasons I admire him, as well as reasons to anticipate problems in the not-too-distant future.

Fortunately, they tell me that a Jeep’s vulnerabilities are easy to diagnose and fix. As Richard told me, “Everyone has Jeep parts.” And compared to any other sort of road trip vehicle I considered (and could afford), the General gets the best gas mileage.

If, like my Proud South-sympathizing and therefore disapproving father, you’re curious about where the name came from, I don’t have much of an answer.

It came to me in a dream. Well, sort of—the waking equivalent, one of those whispers of insight that, once it comes, seems like it was always there. Plenty of my impulses are worthy of deeper scrutiny; this one seemed like a safe one not to question.

Until my trip takes me into the South, that is. For that occasion, I’m preparing an apologetic on the premise that General William Tecumseh Sherman was characterized as “an eccentric mixture of strength and weakness.” (By the historian John D. Winters, if you wanted to know.)

That seems apropos—of the car, of the trip, of myself…

(And if you’re wondering what happened to the VW bus idea, well…they are prone to rust.)