I was a nervous wreck. Our favourite son, Jeremy, a brand-new driver, picked up his friends and headed to Belleville (ON) to go to the show. My superbrain was working overtime to remind me of myriad things that could possibly go wrong. With every muscle in my body tensed and a clenched jaw, I sat beside the phone waiting for the police to call to report something horrible had happened.

Someone called, but it wasn’t the police. It was Jeremy. Our conversation went like this:

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Glenn got on the phone with the security guard and he confirmed Jeremy’s story. There wasn’t a single black Chrysler Intrepid in the entire Quinte Mall parking lot. The security guard called the police and Glenn went to Belleville to rescue the stranded boys.

Jeremy was correct. Our car had indeed been stolen. The policeman offered little hope, claiming that a significant number of cars are stolen from the Quinte Mall parking lot every week. Apparently, it is a prime location for thieves because they can be on the highway for Toronto or Montreal in only thirty seconds. Who knew?

Our vehicle insurance contained a “new car replacement clause” which meant if our car was not found within 30 days, we would receive a brand new car. In the meantime, we were given a car to use.

In the middle of this fiasco, our favourite daughter, Allison, got sick and had to have her appendix removed.


On day 29, a policeman phoned to inform us he had good news and bad news. I didn’t like the sound of that. The good news was our stolen car had been found. The bad news was it had suffered extensive damage. The thief was a 15-year-old who thought it would be fun to drive it through the woods and other dangerous places for a few weeks.

We came so close to having our car replaced. In a matter of hours, we would have received a brand-new 1998 Chrysler Intrepid. Instead, the insurance company paid thousands of dollars to repair our car. We continued to drive it for several years.

That was not the final time, our car went for a ride among the trees. Another new driver lost control on a gravel road and the Intrepid came to an abrupt stop when it made contact with a large tree. The car suffered a cracked the windshield, a smashed grill and bumper, a crumpled hood, a bent the door and punctured tires. Oh, well, everybody escaped injury free.


I joked to my friends that some families wait until their kids grow up to buy good furniture, but we were waiting until our kids left home to get a new car.