We called it the War Pony.
With a name like that, you might expect something like an old muscle car, but no, this was a 1987 Ford Festiva. A red one, just like every other older Festiva. This particular car was owned by my friend Wesley, who bought it as his first. Wesley is a Navajo native and, when I knew him, routinely drove his car from his job in Seattle to his home on the Navajo reservation.
Wesley worked as a Navajo language professor at the University of Washington and had over 250,000 miles on the old War Pony. Considering his commute, that was a source of worry for me. I routinely asked him if he’d ever get rid of it in favor of something newer since he was, after all, making a college salary. He refused, because the War Pony served him well, and he had no desire to get rid of it.
I lost touch with Wesley about 10 years ago. This weekend I heard from him out of the blue, and you can guess my first question:
“Are you still driving the War Pony?”