Dear Jeep,

I hope this finds you well. I’m not sure exactly where you are, but my friends say you are living on a Jeep farm in the countryside, where you can roam and have fun all day.

When I last saw you, you were being loaded onto a tow truck with a positive early prognosis. If I had known the truth, I would’ve said something more than “goodbye.” I would’ve said “thank you.”

First, for the memories. Every time I saw your bright, maroon shade (just enough to pop, but not get pulled over), I thought of Dad first making that observation when he helped pick you out. You could never be as red and flashy as your predecessor, the Kokomobile, but that was by design. I was grown up now. It was time to be sensible.

Even though I met you in Portsmouth, at the same dealership Dad bought all his Jeeps, you wouldn’t be staying in New Hampshire long. You were about to become a New Yorker. And you never failed me.

Rineman Photo
Rineman Photo

Each time I had to stop short when someone jaywalked or a deliveryman rode his bike through an intersection, you held tough. You were easy to squeeze into tight parking spots, and even helped me get some stranded writers in and out of work when the subway was down.

After a few years, you became a New Jersey Jeep. I didn't like New Jersey at all. But there was at least some feeling of comfort each time I walked into our building’s drafty, impersonal garage and found my maroon ally waiting for me.

You traveled to Maine and stayed strong on a harsh November night while I slept inside one of its most celebrated inns. You didn’t tell on me when I quietly saluted a certain building in Connecticut each time we passed it on the highway.

But your claim to fame, at least in my eyes, will be that you were the Jeep that got to take my daughter home from the hospital on April 10, 2017.

Rineman Photo
Rineman Photo

Our last four or five years weren’t as happy as I would’ve liked. Life got tricky. Then the world got tricky. And just when it seemed there was some light at the end of the tunnel…there were two. Namely, headlights.

And after a couple loud “bangs!”, you were no more.

It wasn’t my fault, but it wasn’t yours, either. Your horn worked fine…I heard it! And your last official act as my vehicle was giving yourself so that I could continue.

I know that’s what a Jeep is supposed to do. But I wish we’d had more fun times together. Like when you took us up to Gilford last summer for Sadie’s first concert.

Funny story about that. When I got hit, everything went flying. And I assumed that the guitar pick Ed gave Sadie when he saw her dancing from the stage was no more.

But as I went and poked around inside one more time, what did I find, in pristine condition?


This is tough to say, but I’ve met another Jeep. I think you’d like her. She’s different from you, but already feels like a good fit. And this time, Sadie got to help pick her out.

And the way things ended with you and me, at least I didn’t have to make the painful call to trade you in for her. Over the years, there was talk about taking you to Los Angeles or Chicago…but it wasn’t to be.

For you began in New Hampshire, and that’s also where your tour ended. At the very least, you traveled full circle, as any Jeep should.

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