Last weekend, I had to say goodbye to an old friend. My beloved 14-year-old mini-van. 140,000 miles, scratches and dents on every side because my four children all learned to drive on this car.
My children ridiculed my mini-van—and I can appreciate that because I remember the horror of driving around in my mother’s ancient Ford country squire. For years, they’ve been after me to update, but it actually really suited me just fine to drive an old, well-cared for, dependable car.
But at long last, the time had come to part ways. I haven’t needed such a big car, and my husband and I wanted to get a hybrid. We bought a new tire for the mini-van, had the oil changed, and got all the paperwork ready to sell.
On Saturday morning, Steve took it down to the local high school. On weekends, the road in front of the high school transforms into a community used car lot. I followed behind Steve because we planned to leave the mini-van there for the day. As he parked the car, a young man ran across the street. He looked over the car and asked Steve for a test drive. The two drove off while I waited in our other car, puzzled. Ten minutes later, back they came. The young man jumped out of the mini-van and looked under the hood. In the next instant, satisfied, he shook Steve’s hand and pulled out a fistful of cash. They signed a few papers, Steve gave him the car’s title . . . and it was done.
It turns out the young man was a father of four. His wife had driven a similar mini-van and loved it, so he was going to surprise her with the “new” old one.
All good! An amazingly easy sale . . . but as we drove away, I felt like I was selling an old buggy horse. Like I had betrayed her. Ridiculous, I know. It’s just a metal machine. But I was so thankful for the miles and miles it had safely carried us.
Then I looked at the situation from another angle. It’s been given another life, carting around a new family. And you know, my spirits lifted at the realization. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do.
Here’s one of my favorite mini-van memories:
So a while ago I was visiting my youngest son, Tad, at college in Illinois. Tad has a friend, Emory from Alabama, who brought the very same mini-van to college. Same year, same mileage, same dents. He used it to pile his friends in the car and head off campus. Emory, who has a bit of a swagger in his step, called his mini-van: “The Swaggin’ Wagon.”
Suddenly, Tad, who was known for ridiculing my mini-van above all others, tried to talk me into giving it to him.
Yes. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do.
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