Friday, June 25, 2010

Good-Bye Big Red...sniff sniff

    Today, after eight year, we replaced our mini-van.  Mind you, driving a mini-van is not my top choice.  I used to dream of driving a British racing green Mazda Miata with a tan leather interior.  Last week, however, the dream car changed.  I saw an adorable convertible Volkswagen Bug with brightly colored daisies all over it.  I was drooling.  Alas, with four children and carpooling duties, the dream car has once again been put on hold for practical reasons. 
     Though Big Red (our '96 Dodge Caravan) did not make my heart beat wildly, it was a good and faithful car.  It was harder to say good-bye to her than expected.  After all, 3/4 of our children came home from the hospital in this car.  We drove this car with three kids and my parents to Missouri for a family reunion.  It has taken us to the Jolly Fisherman Resort, to Chicago, Fargo, Omaha, Oklahoma City, and LaCrosse.  Kids have been driven to school,birthday parties, karate, soccer, gymnastics, and dance in this car.  When three of the kids broke bones, Big Red was there to get them to the doctor.  When two of these breaks resulted in surgery, our trusty van drove us to the hospital and home again. 
     There were the two times, both this last year, that Big Red was violated.  This fall someone opened her up and stole a car seat.  We were thankful she wasn't damaged.  Then, a few weeks later she was injured.  While the family enjoyed the The MN Institute of Art, someone smashed one of her windows - just because.  We lovingly had her patched back up.  And she loved us right back by going and going and going....
   Today, the things I was growing to hate about this car became endearing quirks.  The cassette player with the squeaky speakers, the rear window that would not open, the broken air conditioning, the cracked bumper and rusty doors, weren't really that bad, were they?  The engine was still running strong and had many more miles to go.  However, Big Red's oil changes and maintenance checks had made it clear that her time was running out. 
     So, today we said good-bye to her.  We entrusted her to the Honda Dealership in hopes that they will take good care of her.  We lined up behind her while the salesman took our picture.  And, while the kids piled into our new Odyssey, I patted her on the side, wished her well and silently thanked her for her years of faithful service. 

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