Two days before Christmas we said a sad goodbye to an old friend. Truthfully, it was really just me who was sad. No one else seemed even mildly perturbed.
But really. She’d been a part of our family since 1997, carried loads of kids to various locations; created peace on long trips with each daughter claiming her own seat; later ferried clothing, furniture, and other items necessary for college apartments; and trucked leaves, branches, and weeds to the local dump.
She was an apple-red Dodge Caravan with seats as comfortable as a favorite recliner. Despite her age and nearly 200,000 miles, she was still as shiny as the day we’d picked her up.
But with more replacement parts than original ones, she began making noises that suggested she was in need of yet another repair. Around Thanksgiving, she sprung a leak, and left puddles of antifreeze on the driveway.
Our local mechanics who’d babied her along for the last few years finally delivered the bad news. It was, they informed my husband, time to stop putting money into her.
For a few weeks, though, we were in denial, or maybe it was just me who was me who was in denial. A large jug of antifreeze became a permanent fixture in the car…in case of emergency.
While I dragged my feet, hanging on to Red and my memories, my husband began the search for an appropriate used car. With some wheedling, he convinced me to test drive first a Honda Civic and then a Toyota Camry. In the end, the Civic won out.
On Dec. 23, we took a final drive in the van, ending at its final destination — the auto recycling center. But before we weighed it and let the attendant take over, we had an important task. I needed a memento. Turns out it’s pretty easy to pop off the radio controls.