Crying over the Caravan

I may have an unhealthy relationship with my automobile.  My husband called yesterday to tell me that he had run Mini-Van by Car Max, and that if they had offered him just a few hundred dollars more, he would have sold her on the spot.  I almost started crying. Crying!  Over a car.  What’s the matter with me?

She is, after all, a 2006 Dodge Caravan with no working A/C, side doors, or cup holders.  She surpassed 100,000 miles this summer on a road trip that required a trip to Clark Tire to fix what we thought was a busted transmission, but turned out to be just a leaky water pump.  She has a large dent on the driver’s side door courtesy of our stupid garage, which rudely attacked me two Octobers ago as I was pulling in.  Perhaps you’ve seen me driving about town with a magnetic band-aid covering the “boo-boo”?  The point is she’s a piece of crap, and I should be excited about getting rid of her rather than weepy at the thought of selling her off for death by dis-part-ment.

But here’s the thing.  We’ve been through a lot together, Mini-Van and I.  I’ve driven her to two NCAA Final Fours, decorating her with enough red and black paint to embarrass my teenager and make seeing out the windows slightly challenging.  She’s hauled my family all over the state of Indiana, to the Rocky Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, and enough times on the I-65 corridor from Chicago to Montgomery that we know exactly which gas stations to avoid for their unsanitary bathrooms. This is also the car that made one of the most memorable ER runs in Wilson family history [see Archives, May 12, 2009, for a thrilling account].

On a smaller scale, my kids have probably spent more time in this van than in any other vehicle apart from her predecessor Big Red, may she rest in peace. Carpooling to soccer, swimming, volleyball, cross country, gymnastics, dance, tennis, track, hurling (not really, just wanted to see if you were paying attention) and basketball has filled a big portion of their day-to-day lives. Honestly, they’ve spilled more milk, soda and Gatorade in Mini-Van than they have at our kitchen table, attestable by the slight smell of rot that emanates from the cloth-interior on especially hot days.

Mini-Van is not just our mode of transportation. She is our historian.  Every stain, scratch and unidentifiable food glob tells a story of my family. So yah, when I finally have to part with her, I’m going to bawl like a little girl.  Maybe it’s unhealthy, but it’s the way I feel.  I love you, Mini-Van!  Peace out.