My tiny white van

At the risk of running the subject into the ground – perhaps not the best metaphor when the subject is a vehicle – my van is alive again!

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit a few things about my beloved vehicle. It’s only five years newer than our youngest child (who is a freshman in college). It was originally a fleet van, so there’s nothing luxurious about it, if you don’t count power locks and windows. It has a rust spot or two. Some paint is chipped off the hood. It has some freaky gremlin in the electrical system that makes the dashboard gauges dance about (but only very occasionally) as if they’re in some sci-fi time warp. There are some stains on the rug, and it doesn’t have a CD player or a jack for plugging in your MP3 player/phone.

But there are SO many things I love about it. In fact, I’ve been reciting my list of things I love about my van to Middle Sister and The Husband at every opportunity – so much so that they’re beginning to think I may be slightly unbalanced.

Things I love about my van:
1. It’s mine. Mostly no one else drives it, so I don’t have to constantly adjust the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel. Other peoples’ sunglasses, dead QT drinks, and used Kleenexes are conspicuous by their absence. And the seat fits me perfectly – I don’t feel like I’m constantly struggling for a comfortable driving position.
2. There’s a big space between the front seats that is the perfect size for my purse, for convenient access in case I want to stop at a drive-through for a cup of coffee.
3. It has a sliding door behind the driver’s door, making it beautifully easy to toss stuff in while shopping.
4. There’s plenty of room in the back for the large items I have to carry back and forth to work in the summer as we prepare for vacation bible school – it’s seen enormous space ships, giraffes and elephants, hot air balloons, and camping equipment.
5. I don’t feel like I’m driving in a ditch when I’m in it – I love sitting up high and seeing everything around me.
6. The head rests are comfy and they don’t bother my neck or whatever hair style I choose to wear on a given day.
7. It’s the vehicle in which I drove my babies around to rehearsals, errands, school, lessons, and performances through many years of happy family life. There are way too many memories in there for me to let it go.

And – I can’t help adding this – my white van reminds me of one of my favorite literary characters, Precious Romatswe of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency. She has a seemingly unexplainable attachment to her “tiny white van.” So much so that she tries to hide its impending demise from her husband, the best mechanic in the city. When he deems it no longer worthy of repair and sells it for scrap, she tracks her beloved van down and brings it home. Recognizing that such loyalty and lack of materialism are rare and admirable traits, her husband works tirelessly to repair Precious’ tiny white van for her. Her story is so familiar it’s eerie.

The Husband says I should probably chill just a bit about getting my van back. Though it performed beautifully last night, he officially remains merely “cautiously optimistic,” as any number of glitches could appear now. He’ll actually be driving it in these first days of reinCARnation, to pay close attention for anything that’s out of whack.

That’s okay. It’s my tiny white van and it lives again.


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