Remembering that perfect birthday gift

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

By Steve Sticker


Have you ever traded or sold a car that meant a great deal to you and regretted it? 

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I’ve written about this before, but yesterday, Tuesday, May 14,  was a major anniversary in my life and the perfect May 10th birthday gift.  

On the day before Thanksgiving 2011, from a knee-jerk reaction to broken engagement to then Scottish fiancé, both hips being replaced, erroneously thinking I needed a fresh start, traded four cars, best being my totally original, beautiful bronze-yellow (orange) 1971 MGB/GT 250,000th MGB Special I bought new off the show room floor of Continental Cars in St. Louis, MO a year after returning from Vietnam, for the second new car ever owned, a 2012 KIA Soul+.

When people from the dealership came to get my cars and sadly watched the MG taillights disappear down my driveway, immediately knew I had made a major life-changing mistake.  I could rationalize trading the other three vehicles but had grown up personally and mechanically with the MG, my first new car, spent hundreds of hours keeping its pernickety nature in tip top condition while compiling years of one-owner history and memories.  

I found some solace in not knowing where the MG was, then in October 2012, received an email from the owner of a Chevrolet Dealership in Hamilton, AL informing me he had bought my MG, wanted its history and parts.  No way!  Not only did I not want to know where it was, it would be way too painful to provide this information and ignored the email!  After that, every time I drove past Hamilton to see my son Stephen and family then living in Birmingham, got a huge, sickening knot in my stomach knowing my beloved MG was only minutes away!

As months passed and my body and heart mended, I could no longer watch my beloved car shows on TV and every time I walked into my garage, could still see it parked there as boxes of used and new MG parts screamed, “Stupid” out at me.  

Wanting to end this regret, on Monday morning, March 31, 2014, I drafted an emotional, heart-felt email to the dealer explaining why I didn’t respond to his email, reasons that prompted me to trade my MG, total misery felt for having done so, and humbly asked if he would please sell “my” MG back to me.  Later that afternoon, while having coffee on the Square Books balcony, checked my I-phone, saw that he had replied, took a deep breath, said a prayer and opened it.

Thankfully, he acknowledged the regret of letting a beloved vehicle get away, totally understood my agony especially with me being the only owner of the MG, would indeed sell it back to me, and quoted a fair price.  I nearly fell out of my chair as I read his words over and over, thanked God, thanked dealer, and with total relief, blankly stared at the sun-drenched Courthouse as my arms hung limp from my uncoiled shoulders. 

Wednesday May 14, 2014, four days after my May 10 birthday, bank loan final, Stephen drove from Birmingham, picked me up, and with cashier’s check in hand drove to Hamilton and got my “new” old MG back thus adding to our lengthy, incredible history.  Not knowing if the MG would safely make the two hour drive back to Oxford was a bit scary, but made some adjustments to the twin SU Carbs, and slowly relaxed for the sweetest drive ever in my MG!

The dealer knew how special my MG was, kept it garaged, made no changes, and did not title it – which technically means, I am still the only owner.  My total relief is relived every time I see the MG in my garage and especially when I drive my old friend….

Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on the Ole Miss Campus, and received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Counseling) from The  University of Mississippi.