"There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him"
- Bob Wiley, What About Bob
I would have to respectfully disagree with Bob. There is a third type of person - people whose car is named Neil Diamond....
My life changed forever August 1, 2010. That was the day I left a sizeable part of me in Little Rock as I left for the East Coast. When most people say they left a part of themselves, they mean something vague and abstract like a heart or a memory. No, in my case, I mean I left a literal part of me, some might say the best part....Neil Diamond.
For the first time since the summer of 2003 when I left for Fayetteville, I don't have my wingman by my side. For the last seven years, I have torn up the countryside and stolen the hearts of young ladies driving my surface-of-the-sun-yellow Jeep Cherokee. In seven years and 100,000+ miles, I lived a 1,000 lifetimes with Neil Diamond.
But the road came to an end two weeks ago.
That morning, we drove Neil with one final load of cargo to meet Steph's parents with our U-Haul. After we made it back to my boyhood home (aka my parents house, I decided I am going to start calling it so when I am famous it doesn't sound so awkward), I made up an excuse to stay outside while Stephanie ran inside. Once I was alone, I took a moment to listen to the Neil Diamond cassette tape in the tape deck of the Jeep which gave Neil his name. One final time, I blasted "Forever in Blue Jeans." I hate to admit this, but I didn't cry. I wanted to, but the lyrics were too uplifting.
Anyway, after one last goodbye, I handed over the keys to my mom. Neil sat in the driveway like a champ waiting for me with the look in his eye Old Yeller had before he got capped by the older brother. Neither of us wanted it to end, but it was time to go our separate ways.
After a final family lunch and a round of goodbyes, we hit the road on our long trip to DC. Now, two weeks later, a day has not gone bye that I have not just wanted to climb behind the wheel of that two-wheel drive stallion and drive off into the sunset.
My day will come, but until then I hear the words of our final song ringing in my ears:
"I'd like to say, We do okay, Forever in Blue Jeans...."