I dearly miss “Herbie” who was the beige ‘68 Beetle that my parents had when I was a kid. I took my first turns of the steering wheel sitting on my Pop’s lap in Herbie and I would spend hours in the garage playing and practicing my steering and shifting technique while bathing in the horsehair and burnt oil funk you can only get in an old aircooled VW. Sadly, Herbie met his end when I was in 6th grade after his rear seat burst into flames as a results of my Dad’s janky battery cable repair which involved fixing a set of Vice Grip pliers to the loose cable. Mom took Herbie out for a spin with some heavy wallpaper removal equipment on the back seat which caused the seat coils to come in contact with the pliers on the positive terminal. The coils got blazing hot and on the way home from dropping off the gear the seat began to smoke. Ma opened the door and the bench burst into flame when the fresh air rushed in. She tried her best to get the seat out and burned her hands pretty badly but she couldn’t do it and Herbie got fried to a crisp while she sat on the curb and wept. I can still remember her picking me up from school that day clear as if it was yesterday. I knew something was off as she didn’t say a thing and just gave me a hug with her bandaged hands gripping me tightly which had to have hurt something fierce. That was my first real experience with losing a loved one and I was in a funk for the rest of that year. I hope someone was able to save Herbie from the crusher somehow but I imagine he probably met his end as he was completely burned up from frunk to taillights. The only thing we saved from him was his front plate which had fallen off a few weeks before. It hangs in my garage now and every time I look at it I remember what courage Mom had trying to save that car and the love she had for me by putting herself in harm’s way to try and save her little guy’s best pal. Mom’s been gone for six years now and I dearly hope that she and Herbie are motoring along together now somewhere where the days are always sunny and the roads are smooth as glass.