Turkey on the grill

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I looked up just in time to see a few feathers fly over the hood of the car.  Mary Lou was driving us back from the Atlanta airport and we were within 10 miles of home.   It seems these things always happen close to home.

There was a definite thump as she screamed, “I just hit a turkey”.  It was hard for me to judge what she had hit by the feathers flying by.   We never saw it fly over the windshield, nor did we see it behind the car.   In a few minutes we were home not giving it a second thought.

That evening we drove up to the annual chamber banquet.  As we parked, a local friend and insurance agent asked what happened to the front of our car.   I guess insurance people notice those sort of things.   Right in the middle of the grill, where the Volvo emblem once resided, there was an almost perfectly round hole.  Upon further investigation, we discovered there was a turkey between the grill and radiator.

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The next morning, I jokingly offered some of our office employees a fresh turkey that I had on the grill.  Obviously, I didn’t have much success in peddling off the deceased bird.

This is my 13th Volvo.  I buy them because they are one of the safest cars on the road and because I detest car shopping.  Long ago, I found car I liked, so why punish myself by checking all the new models each year. 

There is one drawback to owning the Swedish made car.   It is often very expensive to repair.  Not long after I bought the current vehicle, I discovered that it had the new feature where the engine actually cuts off if you are stopped with your foot on the brake.   I don’t like it.

It was raining as we pulled up to a restaurant with my mother.  I was scrambling to reach for umbrellas and get everyone out without getting soaked.  With three doors open, I took my foot off the brake.   The engine started and the car jumped over the curb and hit the building just across the sidewalk.

Once I gathered my wits, I got out and examined the car and the building.   The building was stone and had nary a scratch.  The car appeared to only have a couple of scratches and a small sensor was hanging by a wire.  I easily snapped the sensor back into its slot.  I didn’t call the police or file an insurance claim.  I didn’t even think about taking it to the body shop for four weeks.  However, with the car just a few months old, I finally decided to go ahead and have the scratches fixed.

The final bill was just shy of $9,000!   When I heard the number, I just started laughing, certain there had been a mistake.  Maybe $900 HUNDRED, but it couldn’t be $9 THOUSAND.   Alas, I realized there was no mistake as I also remembered I not filed for insurance.

The new Volvo XC90 is a dream to drive.  In fact, it will practically drive itself.  It steers me back to the center if I ease across the line or drift towards the shoulder.  It slows me down if I approach a car from behind too fast and senses if a car is approaching from the side.  There are probably more electronics on this car than NASA’s early manned spacecraft.

The seats are heated and air-conditioned, all three rows.  It lowers itself when parked to make it easier to for a little old lady to load something in the back.  There are dozens of possible combinations for your dashboard, with different layouts, colors and alarms, all available with the push of a button. 

I was unaware most of this fancy stuff was even on the car. I just walked in the dealership, told them I wanted the same model I always buy and picked out the one that was black. 

I stopped on the way home to check something in the owner’s manual.  I discovered the manual is actually in the car’s brain; accessed by the iPad sized screen in the dash. 

I once decided to see if the car would really drive itself, since it already senses the yellow line and reads the speed limits.  After about five seconds, a lady’s voice came over the speakers and firmly told me to put my hands back on the steering wheel.   

Shortly after that, the same voice stated that perhaps it was time for a break and a picture of a cup of coffee suggestively appeared on the dash.

With all these bells and whistles, perhaps it isn’t too outlandish to imagine that I really could cook a turkey on the grill.  Now if I could just afford those repair bills.