People give me funny looks when I ask, "Do you name your car?"
The looks give them away: A quizzical look means the answer is no. A smile means yes.
On Jan.18, I wrote a column about people who name their cars. It struck a chord with readers, including Glenn and Marie Knowles, who live off Slanting Bridge Road on Lake Norman in Denver.
Glenn Knowles said they have always named their cars.
"Frankly, I'm not sure I completely trust those who don't," he said. "We have had a fine selection, including Bud, Mel, Christine, Maggie May and Yoko OH! NO!"
He pointed out the downside of naming their cars.
"We bought Rozy in 1987. She's a nice little Nissan ZX. The problem is that we cannot sell or trade her. It would be like selling a member of the family.
"So even though she has had better days and we have to pay insurance and tags for a car we hardly ever drive, there she is, along with over 20 years of memories attached to her.
"The same thing is happening with Big Norm," he said, "a Chevy Suburban that uses way too much gas and makes us feel a bit guilty when we park next to the little Toyotas. But Norm has been with us for 150,000 miles, and I guess he will stay here to haul the family around when we all need to go somewhere at the same time."
Yes, my family understands. Our Schwanda (the Honda) has been chauffeuring us for almost 18 years.
Beth Gibbs, a librarian from Davidson, wrote to tell me how their van earned its name.
She and her husband, Paul, a periodontist in downtown Davidson, had ordered the new 2004 Toyota Sienna van. Orders were backlogged because of high demand. With a toddler and a baby, Beth and Paul were anxiously waiting for the van to arrive, but there were numerous delays Paul and Beth began saying, "When will the 'damn van' be here?" Hence, the name "Jean Claude Damn Van" was bestowed on their Sienna.
The Gibbs family always names their cars. Sylvester is their 1999 CRV Honda, named because it is silver in color. As the Lone Ranger used to say to his horse, Silver, Paul can say, "Hi-Ho, Sylvester."
Two tellers at the bank discussed naming cars with me. Pat Trent used to name her cars when she was younger, but stopped because she inherited her no-name car. Amber Bentley smiled and said she named her new car Mickey because it was bright and red like Mickey Mouse. Her old car was a big old Oldsmobile named Big Bertha.
Sadly, there is also the story of Lucy - a 1993 Jeep Wrangler, named for the feminine version of Lucifer by Rob Medler, a mechanic at Lakepoint Auto Service in Mooresville. Lucy was Rob's first car.
"I bought her when I was 18 years old. I was driving down the highway when she blew the motor." With disdain, he said, "There was something about her. ... She was a sproblem child."