Sunday Post 56: Dead Van Driving

Posted by Danny

I remember buying the green Honda minivan.  Lisa was pregnant with Michelle.  I spent the previous Saturday in the driveway trying to squeeze three car seats in the back of our four-year old Honda Accord.

“Honey, I know you don’t think we can afford a new car,” my wife with the big stomach reasoned, “but you can’t fit a booster seat, a car seat and an infant carrier in the back of that car.  We have to go bigger.”

“Does DJ have to have a booster seat?  Or, could we just squeeze her between the other two?”

“Why don’t you just bungi her to the hood?”

“I guess that would work as long as it didn’t snow.”

Somehow we managed, a new baby, a new car and we still had enough money to buy beer.

It’s amazing how attached you can get to an inanimate object.  It was eleven years old, I hadn’t driven it in months.  Jesse took it when he moved back to town from DC where he didn’t need a vehicle.  And last week, as Jesse headed up the last hill to drop the kids off at school, it died – for good.

I had it towed to a salvage yard and traded my precious memories for a $350 check.  I almost refused the check, it was insulting.  Like selling your dog.

I headed through the lot to find my car for the clean out.  I spotted the back of the van.  I could picture following Lisa home from church on Sunday nights – I could pick out those tail lights in a midnight parade.  As I approached, I grabbed the bar of the luggage rack.  There were many trips to the beach, the girls’ red wagon strapped on the top along with the jogging stroller.  Lisa was always afraid they’d fly off on I-40 – a warranted lack of trust in my mechanical abilities.

I dug out the Disney CD’s we’d sing to as we drove home from preschool each day.  There were road maps we’d accrued from trips up and down the east coast and Lisa’s handwritten directions to Capon Springs.  I know how to get there now, but I didn’t throw the scrap of paper away.

The car Bingo game –

A hair clip –

As I shut the automatic door for the last time, I thought of how quickly time passes and how silly it was to equate life to a ton of dark green metal.  Losing the car is not re-losing Lisa.  Her memory isn’t in stuff – there is a part of Lisa in me, and in our friends, and especially in my girls. 

That’s the fortunate thing – I get to see her everyday.

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  1. Helen LaVere

     /  February 5, 2012


  2. April

     /  February 5, 2012

    Funny how you can be walking through your days – the “little memory box” tucked away and suddenly you read something that opens the lid and you are back in a past that is gone. You are so right! Things are just that – the memories are what are always and forever embossed on your heart and are what bring comfort. You are a brilliant writer and I thank you for your thoughts.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 5, 2012

      you can understand – it creeps back up on you. You wake up not thinking that it is – and on most days it’s ok. But then, the car dies and…

  3. Mel Ham

     /  February 5, 2012

    Like it or not there are inanimate objects, smells, scenery that make those memories flood back into our present. Lisa as far cooler than a honda mini van ..I will tell you ..but she brought a style to driving that vehicle..( i say this not to offend my father inlaw but I don’t want to drive a mini van…I just can’t bring myself..some how gaga does it with style too)..I think married man for some reason. You never know when those subtle memories are on purpose…either. To this day I can’t smell white shoulders without thinking about being left at my first baby sitters…my mom wore that fragrance then…it still reminds me of those years..All milestones…cry…remember…tuck away..and keep on keeping are doing so good..and I am proud of you…And I am not an old lady…btw! love much Mel

  4. Aunt Susan

     /  February 6, 2012

    this is the first sunday post that I didn’t cry over, how nice. so what are you going to get now? and where are the pic’s of the winter formal???????
    inquiring minds want to know!


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