Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vandura farewell

A Van’s Life
(by R.P.Edwards)

Faithful transport
Four wheeled friend
Hours on the road, we spend
Old, when new
Another chance
Another family
Another dance
Kind of ugly
Precious cargo
Safely keep
Built for seven
Turned to eight
Joyful going
State to state
Until, at last
With years and wear
The strength for distance
No longer there
And miles are hard
And rough
And few
And so you pass…
To life…anew

Old, ugly, but a heart of gold.  No, not me (the heart thing didn’t apply anyway,) but rather our former people carrier…a multicolored ‘97 GMC Vandura.

Curious history.  At the beginning of the last decade my expanding family was in need of a reliable vehicle to take the brood places, especially way back east to visit ma and pa.  It was over a twenty hour trek and although others exhorted us to “fly,” when you multiplied the price of a round trip ticket by eight, well, it was driving…or nothing.  And so, seeing our “need,” our mechanic did some looking on his own (how often does that happen?).  He found the ugly duckling, converted it (originally designed for seven, he upped the capacity [what a guy!]) and in no time we were on the freeway heading for the nutmeg state (look it up). 

There we were, dad and mom, driver and shotgun.  Between us, a large cooler that also served as the pedestal for a combo TV/VCR (held in place by bungee cords).  The kids were dispersed behind and watched movies or occupied themselves with other games or gizmos for the ten hour legs.  Since the “straight-through” was frowned upon (kids would riot) we’d stop in PA, at the same motel, and jump in the pool and later dine on fine cuisine (pizza hut).  The next day we’d have breakfast at “Friendly’s” and then, in a few hours…“Hi Grandma! Grandpa! Uncle Fred!” And so it went.  And, with the one week of vacation, four days would be travel, three days visiting.  And our old Vandura held up like a champ. 

Well, a few years back the ol’ girl was struggling on the hills just north of Pittsburg (thank God for the flatlands!) and, upon our return it soon became obvious that Betsy was on her last legs.  The  “service engine soon” light made frequent appearances (“cost more to fix her than she’s worth”) and other parts began, one by one, giving up the ghost (large side window exploded one day after a boy closed the side door.  I put in some Plexiglas ).  I patched this, glued that, pulled some seats out (she became a cargo van); and I’d audibly exhort her by patting the sun-cracked dash and saying “You can do it! You can do it!  Atta girl!“  But, eventually, we had to deal with the reality…of goodbye. 

So…I called the Salvation Army, made the arrangements and, on a sleepy Saturday morning, she was picked up for the next phase of her life.  And, who knows, maybe a part of her will make it into another people-mover we purchase.  But when it comes to visiting back east…next time…I’d rather fly.

I’ve posted a few photos of the ol’ girl on her last day.  A lot of history there.

That’s what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below…and say.

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