Movin' On with Nellie: Pop, bang, clang, crunch, splat goes the car


I can think of a few children’s rhymes to use as introduction to this story; but I will save you the “Chitty-chitty Bang-bang” pain. My story opens today on Conejos County Road 15 where graders had long ago left. No caution cone was present; a large center lump of rocks ran the gamut dividing the traffic on the gravel road between coming and going. I successfully navigated over one left over pile in the “going” lane when I came upon another menacing pile. As there was traffic in the “Coming” lane, I knew my car though “Smart” was not a magical car and couldn’t swing into that lane when the center aisle opened. I had to proceed to get to Manassa through Capulin. So, given there were no orange cones placed by the county to warn “do not otherwise proceed,” I navigated through the bump (in the “going” lane) that was a collection of large rocks that slipped off the grader’s blade in the road, I knew something bad was under way. (I had slowed to below the posted speed, too.)

I heard loud metal bangs as the 10-inch rocks careened into my Smart Car’s under carriage. Crunch, bang, clang, crunch, bang, clang! Soon the dash warning lights came on and the motor wouldn’t push the wheels another inch. A fine Colorado State Patrol officer came out and took an accident report as I notified Geico via their mobile app that we were down for the count, to borrow Jack in the Beanstalk’s lingo. The car was carted off like a small toy to be assessed. Left behind was a long trail of bread crumbs, hmm, I mean oil to mark the distance the car had taken after the splat, bash, boom, bang of a motor dying on a fine winter morning.

The process of the claim, and resubmitting evidence took five months to rule the car a total loss; in the meantime, the Conejos County administrator said they would not reimburse for damage. Not posting orange cones to warn drivers to slow to a crawl I find is dangerous since my car could have exploded, and others traveling past could have been hurt too. I will have to send a letter to them, asking them to reconsider and admit their fault for not posting caution like other counties do on their graded roads.

When Geico found out that an engine replacement costs $17,000, they quickly totaled to $6,000. But once they decided, the process has continued for another month going on seven. Geico essentially bought the car and I am supposed to have my settlement already a week or two ago. Still, they are sending yet another couple of forms to sign and resubmit; they even sent a form for me to sign that I had already signed.

Luckily I have a replacement vehicle, a blue-robin’s egg colored Chevy, something repairable locally, but the kind dealer, Mike Maroone Chevrolet, in Colorado Springs and Mindy specifically are patiently waiting for Geico’s left over settlement that will be the long-overdue down payment for this new carriage. This conundrum is not singing a song of six pence. My monthly note is the same as the one before. So, I hope all the pieces come together soon. No matter what, I can tell you this, I can’t send another set of forms to Geico via the $34 express envelope. Can’t afford the cost to send the cow over the moon either. Snail mail will have to do. I just have to ask, “Did a snail or two put Humpty Dumpty together again?”

—Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]

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