On July 28, 2012, my precious Dad passed away at the age of 76. Much too soon after his passing, my sweet Mama followed him on December 27, 2012, at the age of 75. After nearly 60 years of marriage, they couldn’t bear to be apart, I suppose. This wonderful couple left behind three pretty amazing children, several grand and great-grandchildren, an incredible legacy, and the reason for this letter – a 2009 Subaru Outback with only 13,000 miles on it.
My 21-year-old daughter, Marleigh, was privileged and proud to be the next owner. Shortly after receiving the Outback, her summer break from college arrived. Her potential summer job falling through prompted her to take a road trip that began as a trip of healing and exploration and turned out to be life-changing. Choosing to handle the grief of losing both grandparents productively, she loaded up her Outback and set out on her own to parts unknown.
Marleigh is a very pragmatic, grounded girl and had to develop a reason to incur this expense. Her rationale for the road trip became to visit the cities of college campuses she was interested in attending for grad school. Pursuing her bachelor’s degree in biomedical science at our local college at the time, she subsequently visited the University of Georgia, Oklahoma State University, and Colorado State University.
The serious business of investigating potential colleges was on her road map, of course. In between, she also stopped off in Memphis, Tennessee, and explored Beale Street; Nashville, Tennessee, and its country music attractions; Tulsa, Oklahoma, to explore family roots; Fort Collins, Colorado, to fall in love with the town and the equine science program at CSU; Cheyenne, Wyoming, to experience the “Daddy of ‘em All” National Annual Rodeo and meet a renowned horse trainer and ride his horses; Pueblo, Colorado, to work his ranch for a few days; and, lastly, Corpus Christi, Texas, to visit more family before finally taking the long ride east down I-10 through the bayous of Louisiana and arrive back home in Jacksonville, Florida, 5,800 solo miles later! Her cherished Subaru Outback carried her safely on an adventure of her lifetime.
No one was prepared for what happened next. After the deadlines for applying for admission, registering for classes, and securing housing had passed, Marleigh could not let go of the desire to return to Fort Collins to complete her education in CSU’s equine science program. Not the following year … but now. A very few weeks later, she and her amazing stepfather, Harry, had jumped through all of the necessary hoops. She was invited to attend CSU and secured the perfect housing.
When we visit, the sheer number of Subaru vehicles buzzing around the wonderful mountain roads entertains us! She has the “cool car of choice” in Fort Collins. The AWD feature certainly gives her parents a feeling of security, as well as the Subaru reputation for safety. She is 1,800 miles away, and this peace of mind means so much.
Robin Shivery, Jacksonville, FL