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OPINION: Goodbye, old friend

The Henry Hype

Over the weekend, I bid farewell to my 2010 Pontiac Vibe and said hello to a 2020 Ford EcoSport.   

It got me thinking about my history with my Vibe, who I affectionately named Gryff after a fictional character in the Harry Potter series. I decided since most vehicles are named after women, I’d name mine after a man, because I could.  

Driving Gryff was a change from the Dodge Grand Caravan I had learned to drive in. I suddenly had a much smaller vehicle that was completely mine and I loved every bit of him. From the radio whose volume switch didn’t quite work, to the red paint that had some chips in it, this was my first car and he could do no wrong.  

Although Gryff was new to me, he was an old boy when I got him in 2017. The Pontiac brand was discontinued in 2009 and I had no idea how many previous owners had sat in the driver’s seat that I was now using.   

Time hadn’t been amazing to Gryff, but he persevered. He got me to and from work, gave me the independence I didn’t realize I had been craving, and I became as confident as I could in my driving skills over the years.  

We made it through snowstorms, rain so thick I thought his windshield wipers were going to fly off, and over black ice I didn’t see coming. When the time came, he took me from Ontario to Alberta and didn’t even blink at the journey.  

It took me almost three years to accept Gryff and the Alberta weather just didn’t mix. This last snowfall we had resulted in me and Gryff getting stuck, while others flew by. And the less than perfect roads had done a number on my buddy. It got to the point where I felt like I was putting band-aids on a bullet wound anytime I tried to fix something that had gone wrong.  

I reluctantly accepted that my 11-year-old car may not be as safe as I once thought and that I may need an upgrade.   

My dad agreed. He had been pushing me to get a vehicle better suited for Alberta since I first told him about the job offer out here. When he searched up Bonnyvile, he realized the difference between Ontario and Alberta winters. It took two and a half years, but I finally agreed with him.  

From the moment I sat in the Ecosport - who I think shall henceforth be known as Arty - I knew this was the car I was looking for. Among being new and shiny, I felt safe when I sat behind the wheel. I drove over the roads I’d gotten stuck in with Gryff and had no issues.   

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to my first car and moving onto another one. I learned a lot from that Vibe and am glad it was the first vehicle I owned.  

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle