Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good Bye, Good Old Clunker Car! Obituary for a Dodge

Doug and I are in the process of trying to get a new car through the Cash for Clunkers deal. It seems like such a shame, in some ways!

I'm not complaining, mind you. It's pretty exciting to get to look at new cars, with all kinds of new doo-dads (probably each with their own dreaded owner's manual), (and God only knows where they've hid the gas cap.) But the new car won't really get that much better mileage than our 1996 Dodge Caravan.

I wish I could call it our "trusty" minivan, but really, it wasn't. And believe me, it looks much better in this photograph than it does in real life! And the fact that the odometer stopped working many years ago, along with the speedometer, is not exactly a selling point for it, either.

Still, this behemoth has seen a lot of life with us. We never wanted to buy it in the first place. Our equally frustrating, unreliable, challenging Red Dodge Caravan had been leaving us stranded by the side of the road in way too many places. The final straw for the red Caravan was when we took our kids from Grand Forks, ND to Texas to live for a few months with my brother and sister-in-law, literally escaping the flood waters of 1997. Our little Daitsu was totalled in the flood, and the red Caravan proceeded to break down (predictably) all the way to Texas and all the way back. We knew we'd never make it back to Texas in the beast, to get our children, and we really kind of wanted them back!

So we had to find a new car. Fast. In the middle of devastating flood clean-up, and with our dyfunctional flood-brains, we made the same mistake twice and bought another used Dodge Caravan.

And you know how it goes with a mini-van with 3 kids; they get packed full with luggage and friends, and the dog, and very, very sticky (and stinky) things. I'm sure if I look now in Scott's compartment in the back seat, I'd find gum wrappers and gum. Brian would probably have superballs and track cleats in his. Dianna would have hair bands and little notebooks with strange messages to her friends. No one wants to know what all the stains mean. We've hauled all of Scott's belongings, and Dianna's, to Washington, DC , with dorm refrigerators and computers--and then back again. We've taken Brian's things to Missouri, with the dreaded last 200 miles of the trip interrupted by the Missouri State Police, accusing us of being $12 worth of gas-runners, and making us drive 150 miles--back to pay a second $12.

We've rushed to ERs with the minor stuff of childhood; we've searched out birthday parties and friends and sporting events and gone trick-or-treating. We've headed to Chicago to see the relatives, braved more blizzards than I care to remember, and gotten totally lost in cities and woods.


And now we're going to crush it. Drive a stake through its heart. Really, it doesn't seem right. Even though we seem to be constantly replacing some other major chunk of this clunker, and it has practically no Blue Book value (not that anyone would ever buy it, because of the recalcitrant speedometer), it does seem like it should get some kind of funeral. Not exactly a Thelma & Louise push off a cliff, or polluting any waters or anything, but maybe one last drive through the city, blasting Kenny G from its cassette player (wait! that doesn't work anymore, either!)

12 comments:

pat said...

At least it's not an eight-track player... It's hard to give up a car that is filled with so many memories (good and not-so-good), but here's to you two filling up a new car with your own memories!

Lauren said...

Oh my gosh, that car has a lot of history for sure!

DH has an 18 YO car that I'd love to do the cash for clunkers for, but it doesn't get poor enough gas mileage :(

Emjoy your new-car-shopping!

Nicki, said...

Same thought ocurred to me - at least it wasn't an 8-track. I recently traded for another SUV - and it was sad parting with my Expedition - so many memories. RIP Dodge.

Sharon said...

Too bad there aren't any pro sports teams in town who could win a championship and you could celebrate by torching your van. Oh wait, that's only Detroit isn't it. Never mind. ;)

Barb said...

Oh, what a nice obituary. :) We didn't realize that you had to pay and additional 12.00 in Mo.

Amy said...

Wow, the history of the car makes it seem like you should keep it for nostalgia sake...not really! Enjoy your new car, which ones are you liking? :)

Suzy said...

It sounds like it contains a million memories! How sad you have to let it go!

Beth said...

What happy memories you must have shared in the beast:)

Jeanne said...

Wow...what a great obituary for your clunker. Loved the great ones and cringed at the not so great ones. Here's to making lots of happy new memories in a car that is more reliable (but ultimately less funny).

Maria said...

I started getting misty eyed reading this. As you know, we've also owned two Dodge Caravans, our current one affectionately known to us a Moby Dick, the Great White Whale! Ours packs a lot of memories as well. How about giving your Caravan a Jazz Funeral through town? Doug and your other car could form the Second Line. :-)

Reds said...

Kenny G??!!! Does he still sing?! :) Beautiful ode to a van!!

shirley said...

Crap! Now I have a tune wedgie to Kenny G's Song Bird, and it's all your fault!