I new it was inevitable. Bruce had been in failing health for several months. Sadly, earlier this month, we had to have Bruce put down.

Bruce came to us in June of 2006, already old and the best miles behind him. Yet, there he was, his heart strong and eager to serve.  Dog? Cat? No…Bruce was our 1993 Geo Tracker that I paid $150 for. I had spotted the ad the first day it came out: 1993 Tracker…bad body…$150.  I called the owner and went up later in the day and bought him.  I was told it needed a battery and a V-Belt.

Bruce started, with a jump, and ran hot on the seven mile trip back to Troy, NY.  When I got home I popped the hood and found the reason for Bruce overheating…the belt was shredded. Now the jump start made sense. Bruce’s alternator pulley froze up causing the belt to shred and the water pump not to work.

$150 later Bruce had a new V-belt, alternator and battery, which turned out to be the only repairs he would need.  He passed NY’s tough inspection with no problem.  He served faithfully as an around town – run-the-son to- school car and as my hunting and fishing vehicle.  Bruce would get into unbelievable places, in 4 wheel drive.  He embodied my teachings as America’s Frugal Sportsman…no monthly payments, 4 wheel drive and 30 miles to a gallon!

His main problem was body cancer, a known Tracker nemisis.  It had progressed to the point that I could look down and see the road in two different places.  His brakes were getting bad and I weighed getting them fixed or facing the sad reality that Bruce’s life was at the end.  Bruce made the decision for me. On the way home from my Doctor’s office, one of Bruce’s calipers simply exploded.  I limped home very dejected, kno0wing that Bruce had passed his time.  My wife and son were equally saddened as Bruce enjoyed Rock Star status with us, for his dependability and lack of cost to maintain.  We knew that it would be a miracle to replace him, or as my 11 year-old son, Kobe, said: Look for a new Bruce.

We did, for a month or so. But any Trackers were out of our specs for a suitable vehicle for America’s Frugal Sportsman to drive around in.  Finally, I settled on a weathered 1993 S-15 Jimmy.  It needs some work, but I will done and good for about $900 and no payments.  Not the bargain Bruce was, but those don’t come by every day.  And, I look! Why not buy a more expensive vehicle?   You’re kidding!!!  Why have a $350 monthly payment plus higher insurance premium just to have something shiny? No payments means I can spend more on other things…like hunting and fishing stuff.  Think about it…would your wife complain if you bought a knew $1000 bow if you didn’t have that $425 dolllar payment due on your Silverado?

Being frugal is fun but it can get addicting, I warn you.

So far the Jimmy is just the Jimmy…no name. Every vehicle just does not get a name. We new Bruce was special but it was his color that gave us his name.  GM called it Majenta…most people call it pink. So what else do I name a pink 4X4 driven by a guy…right!  Bruce!

I know Bruce is waiting in the parking lot in Heaven for me and the family to get there. He has earned his rest.