Tempos and Cavaliers

The 1980s brought us many great things. Good music, MTV, HBO, lots of things we all had to have as soon as it was available. The 1980s fell short, however, in the car industry. OK, you can admit it, we all at one point in our lives owned either a Ford Tempo or a Chevy Cavalier!! From the outside, they resembled economy, they were fairly easy on the eyes, they were inexpensive, they looked like decent transportation for a family. The cavalier came as a coupe, a sedan, a wagon, or a convertible. The tempo was limited to a coupe or a sedan. However, you will not see many Tempos or Cavaliers on the roads today.

The tempo came with a 60,000 mile warranty. That was relatively high for the 1980s. Most families could pay off their tempo by then. At 60,100 miles, the transmission failed. It required a total replacement. Then the radiator failed. By the time the car reached 70,000 miles, the engine block cracked. Lol….my dad went and bought a new Tempo when that happened-he hadn’t quite payed off the old one yet!!

Not Me!! I went with the Cavalier. I bought a 1986 sedan. It had 61,000 miles on the odometer and a rust spot on the rear left fender…which the salesman had repaired before I drove it home. The cavalier had a smaller engine, a 30,000 mile warranty, and better fuel economy than the Tempo. The motor was good, so was the transmission. The problem was the unibody frame and the body itself. The frame had a bad habit of bending and denting. Running over a bump caused unrepairable damage. The body rusted down to nothing, usually within shouting distance of 30,000 miles. The paint also faded…and quickly!

So, why car education 101, Jon??? Well, to say this, at one point or another, we all managed to fail. Just like the bad transmission hidden in the shiny Tempo, we failed to meet society’s expectation. Just like the rusty, dented body, we became unsightly to others around us!!

There IS a ray of hope!! In 1993, mom and dad bought a Geo Prism. It was positively the UGLIEST car ever made!! My parents needed a car to get through a rough time and this was the best they could afford. They drove that silly car for 15 years!! 318,000 miles!! Dad NEVER changed the oil!! He added it when the oil light came on, that was it!!

Friends, we DON’T have to look good to others to be good people. We can start where we are now, repulsive in the sight of others, and we can let our indefective hearts prove our value. BE that light to others!! Like Dad’s Geo, it costs us little to be of great service to those around us.

Today, in a trucker’s chapel, I shared my story with the chaplain. We prayed for the people who caused me so much misery. As we did this, my girlfriend’s son texted me this message: “HAPY FATHRS DAY JON! YEWER MY ROLL MODEL ADN WE LOVE YOU!” I swear…lol… I don’t know HOW I am a “Roll model,” but you see, the small things we do for others, be it listen to someone’s heartbreak, listen to a loved one’s kid talk about Fortnight (in a SAFE environment with another person, of course), we can ALL be a “roll” model…even, and most importantly, among ourselves!

Indeed, we are each designed with imperfect parts. Like a Tempo or a Cavalier, we each are riddled with defective designs and poorly conceived designs that have proven defective. As faded as our paint jobs are, as rusty as our fenders are, as bent as our frames are, and as flawed as our transmissions are…we can all strive to be like that Geo.

1 comment for “Tempos and Cavaliers

  1. kayt
    June 24, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I can figure out how you are a roll model, Jon! You are always on the upbeat, finding the light. The important thing is to stay that way.
    Thank you for your message!

    It is important to do “small things for others,” I guess its true that when we do, it’s more for ourselves than for others that we do them but sometimes we …. as in I, get wrapped up in just managing to not fall apart and I forget about other people. Thanks for the reminder.

    PS: My first husband did a lot of car wheeling and dealing so we drove many types of cars, but the car that I have now is a Ford Fusion, 238,000 miles that just emptied my bank account for repairs, but she’s hanging in there. She made it home when her transmission line broke, drove 50 miles in the night on an busy interstate highway. I would’ve had her towed if I knew it was that bad, I swear that my car has soul, and I think she loves me!

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