Thursday, December 13, 2007

end of an era: the UCV goes to Brookside

Welcome to Brookside Auto Parts -- I have to blog this--this is just too big for Twitter.

Today marks the end of an era: the UCV (urban combat vehicle) is on its way to Brookside. Around these parts, in Brooklyn Centre, when people die they go to Riverside, and when vehicles pass on, they go to Brookside. One's on a hill overlooking the rivers and streams; the other's under a bridge, next to them.

The 1991 Chevy conversion van, a.k.a. "Tiara," was a gift to us two years ago from our Archwood neighbors Lynn and Scott Lemley when we were just setting out on our community advocacy adventure. It was a bold statement, and it was a lesson in humility. When Tiara came onto the lot, heads turned.

Tiara carried us where the bus could not: To many, many MeetTheBloggers sessions, to Akron, even to Columbus once, to Midtown Mornings, to Midtown Brews, to all the petition-gathering sites of the PutItOnTheBallot campaign, to Norm Roulet's RealNEO gatherings in East Cleveland and downtown. It (she?) hauled gear for the Riverside Cemetery Garden Party "Magic, Mystery, and Millionaires," got tricked out like a firetruck for the Ladder 42 demonstrations, operated as the tool and garbage hauler for neighborhood street cleanups, and graced the Rocky River and Brecksville Heinen's lots often.

This year, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles decided it would overstep its authorities--for our own good, of course--and add functionality testing to the emissions testing. Even though the Chevy 350 engine and the exhaust system were a marvel to behold, with no oil leaks to boot, the BMV decided that Tiara needed power windows that worked in order to get a pass to continue on the road for another year. Heck, the windows worked fine, when you pulled them up and down and stuck a screwdriver in to hold them in place. However, the bureaucratic grease-monkeys of the BMV were not appreciative of such field-expedient displays of American ingenuity, and Tiara was confined to the garage at the end of August.

Today, with all the sleet and slush and wet, another, far littler car needed Tiara's dry berth, so the guys down at Brookside got the call. Since Tiara had the engine, transmission, and catalytic converter intact and functioning, they came for her and left checks totaling $175. I got a few Judas twinges, but then decided to write this post to assuage my guilt and pave the way to having a sumptuous lunch, on Tiara.


  1. maybe they were more worried about YOUR emissions and any unlucky passenger who couldn't roll down the window. OHHH!

    i had to, i just had to.

  2. oh KT you are hilarious!! good one!
    And Ma is just too cute with her lil stick legs in the urban combat vehicle.

  3. KATIE! That was most excellent. I am proud of you and await, quietly and patiently, the next opportunity for family fun, rejoinder and repartee.(Know, however, that on the emissions issue, I am reformed...)

  4. At least it was a good looking vehicle...
    Great getting to know you, and your thougts on life, liberty and other assorted stuff.
    Thanx, coach

  5. The Bureau of M Vehicles has no sense of humor! But yours is just fine. Do you have to put fresh flowers by the car at Brookside as you might at Riverside :-) I might be asking for directions there for my own 'transit' in a few months...

  6. I think, remembering the lingering scent of Tiara, that placing flowers inside instead of alongside would be more effective and appropriate.

    You'll not need directions; they make house calls, with a flatbed.