I'm not what you might call a "car person". I can refill gas and check fluids, but changing the oil, a tire or any other type of maintenance or repair is sadly not within my skill set. I do, however, have a fond appreciation for nice cars. The way they look, the way their engines sound, luxurious upholstery and high-tech dashboards. Classic cars, too, but more so for the era they represent; usually a simpler time when cars were heavier, less complicated, more reliable, and much cheaper to repair.
Despite my lack of knowledge, cars have played a significant role in many of my memories. It's hard to forget being packed into the so-called back seat of my aunt's banana yellow VW Beetle with my two cousins, no seatbelts and no a/c. The ride from my house in Aiken to theirs in Wagener was long, and I'm sure it was hot, but we didn't notice and it made for a very happy memory.
The first car I can remember riding in was my mom's 1970-something Ford Thunderbird. It was a horrible pea-green color with a huge bench seat and I recall thinking of it as an "old lady car". Thankfully, the T-bird was soon replaced by a younger, roaring, white 1977 Chevy Camaro Z-28. I didn't know it at the time, but it was certainly not an "old lady car" and the boys at my elementary school came running over to see it every time my mom dropped me off at school. I can still remember looking down at my sandaled feet dangling over the edge of the bucket seat, while a police officer scolded my mom through her window and handed her a speeding ticket.
The Camaro moved my mom and I through our daily lives until I was well into high-school, once nearly claiming the tip of her pinky finger when she reached back to grab her purse after pushing the ridiculously heavy door closed. That same door met it's end against a firmly rooted pine tree when a friend drove the car, leaving the door open and the gearshift in neutral.
Graduation brought me the first car of my very own, a 1987 Pontiac Grand Am. I preferred to refer to its pinkish/beige color as "champagne" and it had a powerful V-6 engine that I absolutely never, not ever used to race friends. It also came with a sizeable dent over the rear tire that scraped whenever I rolled over a speed bump too fast or failed to avoid a pothole, which was often.
Since then, there have been a few more practical, quite reliable Hondas, and now I find myself back in a VW. Salsa Red this time, with a much more spacious back seat. All of the cars of my past eventually rolled out of my life, sold or left to sit and rust in a junkyard, and I've taken a moment each time to say goodbye. Inanimate objects notwithstanding, each played a part in my life and each, at least to me, is worth a moment of remembrance.
Had the option been available at the time, each of those cars could have continued to play a meaningful role by helping support a worthy cause. Charity car donation is not only a great way to help support your favorite non-profit organization, it's an easy way to get rid of your old clunker, and it provides you with a much-needed tax break.
The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare participates in a vehicle donation program that is a hassle-free, excellent way to benefit the homeless pets in our community. All you have to do is pick up the phone or complete an easy, online donation form and the vehicle will be towed away at no charge to you.
The vehicle does not have to run and the program accepts not only cars and trucks, but motorcycles, boats, scooters, golf carts, RV's, tractors and more. Call 855-500-RIDE (7433) or click LetLoveLive.org/Donate and look for the "Car Donation" link to give your old ride a new, valuable purpose, and give a homeless pet the chance to enjoy a ride of their own, to a loving forever home.
Sarah Neikam is the Communications & Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her family which includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.