I miss my Baja Bug. I dream about my Baja Bug…

The car in that video wasn’t it specifically, but the year, build, and color are all dead on. If it had yellow pinstriping on the fenders, it would be a dead ringer. That color combo just happened to coincide with the college I was attending in my hometown of Fort Collins. It made it extra fun to drive that rumbling little beast with the outsized stereo all over the city while I brought people the joy and solace that can only come from the Panhandler’s Pizza delivery guy. It very well may have been the job of my life, all in my favorite car. Every memory from that timeframe is about a happy and carefree time that I reminisce about somewhat greedily.

I usually remember that first year I had it, when the only expense I had was the new tires I bought to make sure it would get me through winter.

I tend to forget the second year, when two of the motor mounts (bolts, in this case) had worn, and had someone standing at a curb not noticed, I might have left my engine behind in the next few months, or have hurt someone very badly.

I also try to forget the third year, when the regulator (no, not alternator) got stuck open. I didn’t know there was a regulator. Four expensive car batteries later, I had finally solved my problem with a twelve-dollar part.

The fourth year was amazing… excepting for the fact that running the car too “hot” through four batteries had somehow thrown the entire electrical system into disarray, and I kept blowing out the fuse for the windshield wipers on the snowiest of days. Or the fuse for the headlights in the middle of the night. Or the fuse for the… The auto parts guy knew my first name.

I’ve left out the parts where the under-seat heaters burned my heels, and the two front ends I replaced by being a bit too bold on icy roads near curbs. I’ve left those out because I loved that car. Every damned second that bug was actually running, and that was a lot of the seconds, I think, I absolutely positively loved that car.

I miss Danilo Gallinari. I don’t dream about Gallo yet, but I presume my wife might and is just nice enough as to not tell me so. But I already miss Danilo Gallinari. He wasn’t at my house yesterday or anything, but last week he was still a member of the Denver Nuggets. And this week he is not. Gallo, when you get to L.A., and if you’re not completely pissed that I just compared you to an oft-broken Volkswagen, let me buy you a beer. Or a burger.

Like most, I remember the first couple of seasons Gallo was here with the growing excitement that a star was on the horizon. Like most, I remember staring at the TV with my jaw on the floor when his knee gave out. I still love him. He’s more intelligent about getting points on the board efficiently than just about any other Nugget I can remember. Beyond the arc, driving to the hoop, and with a penchant for the foul line, Danilo Gallinari will get you points on the board. He’s masterful at it, and Denver will have to replace what he gave them with whatever this new-car-smell team brings.

I, for one, am excited to see if the nearly league-wide prediction of a good marriage between New Nugget Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic is everything they say it can be. Something sexy, with a lot of horsepower… Sort of like the car I ended up with after that beloved bug. A 1976 Ford Gran Torino, painted like Starsky and Hutch’s car…

It will be interesting to see if the Denver Nuggets are a better team in this new configuration. There are already a couple of guys in Wilson Chandler and Juancho Hernangomez who might like to take it for a test drive.

Welcome to the team, Paul. You’ll be missed, Danilo. Here’s hoping that both of you are parked in the very best spot you can be.

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