Ode to the Honda: the little Civic that could

  • Want to know how much damage it takes to total a 20-year-old Civic? See above for reference.
    Want to know how much damage it takes to total a 20-year-old Civic? See above for reference.

After leaving church services on July 19, I did something I knew was coming, but could never anticipate: I cleaned out and bid adieu to my 2000 Honda Civic.

Surely by now, most Graham County residents have witnessed me chugging around in my luxurious four-door sedan. It turned many heads and comments like, “Wasn’t that the editor of the newspaper?” because her appearance diminished over 20 years.

Faded paint. A dent in the back left door – the culprit of two separate occasions in which the previous owner somehow managed to back into the same area of the car – and, more often than not, windows rolled down, because the A/C went out earlier this year.

However, what the Civic was missing in aesthetics, it more than made up for under the hood. When I purchased the car from my sister (oops, guess I outed the culprit of the back-door dent. My bad, sis) in 2015, the odometer read 215,000. Mechanics and car enthusiasts alike will be quick to point out that with that “low” mileage, a Honda is just getting broken in.

As it made countless trips to Florida for vacation, Raleigh for work and Ellijay, Ga., to visit family, it defied the odds. All I wanted was to see it eclipse 300,000. On a late-night drive home from Asheville over the winter, it did just that.

Sure, there were repairs. Tires. A never-ending, molasses-slow oil leak. But a combination of a lack of funds and a personal attachment helped fuel the desire to get the most out of it.

On July 8, I was attempting to leave Walmart in Murphy. While approaching the intersection – well into the right-hand turn lane – a Maryland resident in the left-hand turn lane decided to defy physics and attempt to occupy the space I was in at the same time. The photo that accompanies this column shows the end result.

No one was injured. The woman was overly apologetic and on the verge of tears. I assured her that since no one was hurt, there was no need to be upset. 

It happens.

But it ended up being her insurance company that decided the fate of my Honda. The driver’s side mirror was knocked loose. The driver’s side door was pretty warped, and the front-left hubcap suffered some scraps and stray paint.

The insurance company’s findings? Totaled.

Just like that, the tale of the Civic came to an end.

I have since procured a new(er) car. A couple of years fresher than the last, but with half the mileage. The A/C works beautifully. When you have the job I have, you need something that will last. 

While transitioning from one vehicle to the next, the insurance company provided me with a 2019 Nissan Altima as a rental. The New York plates on the Altima produced more comments in one week than the Civic had during its short-lived tenure in Graham County.

And somewhere from the outskirts of Charlotte, I heard the faintest chuckle from my Honda’s final resting place: a scrap yard.

Kevin Hensley is the publisher/editor of The Graham Star. He can be reached by phone, 479-3383; email, editor@grahamstar.com and on Twitter, @KevinHensleyCNI.