It was about five years ago that I first saw Daisy, sitting there under a dirty March snow, peeping out with that pretty yellow face. I was immediately smitten, driving into the car lot on Peter’s Creek Road in Roanoke, brushing off some more of the snow and getting a good look at her. There was no way I was leaving without her.
And I didn’t. I paid probably $2,000 more than the book said she was worth, but I didn’t care. I didn’t even need to drive her. A friend told me I was stupid, first to buy a Volkswagen bug, second not to have it inspected and then not to even drive her. But love knows no boundaries.
Since Daisy first entered my life, I’ve had a whole new vision of the importance of a “statement car.” Daisy says–no, yells–“I’m free and I’m happy! Come laugh with me.” I hear almost weekly, “I had no idea you drove a bug, let alone a yellow one.” And then the person says she sees me differently in this (yellow) light. So do I.
I climb into Daisy’s surprisingly roomy interior (this is a different car than it was in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s), look at the little pot of daisies on the dash and the small wooden VW cutout hanging from the mirror that my favorite ex-wife made me and I almost always smile. It sets a tone for the day.
Now, for the second time, Volkswagen has announced that it will stop producing the car that was originally inspired by Hitler in the 1930s (Volkswagen means “people’s car”). This is an icon, one that has meant a hippie revolution, freedom for poor students and poor young workers, affordability for young parents, a fun ride. It used to sound like a sewing machine and the engine could be overhauled in a few hours using a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. The engine was in the back, over the drive wheels, so it would go in the show when snow plows wouldn’t. It wasn’t comfortable. It got crazy gas mileage (at a time in the U.S. when gas cost 19 cents a gallon and mileage didn’t matter much).
I don’t imagine VW’s decision will affect me and Daisy (she has nearly 200,000 miles on her and still looks nearly new), but I do suspect that when somebody else driving a yellow VW approaches me, the wave I always get will be a smidge more enthusiastic. I hope so. I love that little car.