Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Eulogy on the Mini-Van

Dear Mini-van,

No offense, LYN, but first of all let me say how glad I am that it was you and not my kid.

I mean, my kid was inside...without a seat-belt...head-on collision...not her fault...and your air-bags deployed and all she got was a bad case of shock (you mean, I really could die in this car? The mini-van?  So humiliating!). She also got a few bruises, and an invisible piece of glass hiding somewhere in the skin of her pinky-finger.

And you, LYN, got death. Too bad the camera wasn't focused so we could all see just how dead, with the window all broken out and both drivers'-side doors caved in and the engine all squished and bleeding engine-juice all over the street.

 I'm so sorry, LYN.

Unfortunately, nobody else is. Especially not my girls, who have been forced to drive you to school and work.You've been made fun of a lot in your life, and you didn't deserve it.

We've been through a lot together. From the day we went to Jamba Juice with the kids to celebrate the new car...and went around a corner...and realized the cup-holders weren't exactly holding onto those enormous, top-heavy, smoothie-filled styro-cups.

Yes, you were baptized that day. The first of many night-mare clean-ups. The vomit when A had appendicitis was smellier, but the Jamba was stickier.

We named you after your license plate, but it was a good name.

You went everywhere with us. You car-pooled and partied and broke down on that trip to San Diego, which was how we got talking to the mechanic and found that perfect beach where all the locals go and the tourists don't know about, with tons of parking and the bathrooms right close by...which led to us finding that great little Mexi restaurant with amazing food and the server with blue hair...yes, LYN, that was thanks to your broken radiator. Or whatever it was that fell apart.

You helped us move furniture and haul lumber and kept it dry in the rain and snow, unlike a mere truck. You even survived C hauling his motor-scooter in you and spilling gasoline in the back. You went with us all those years of cutting Christmas trees in the forest and fit the whole family, plus the giant dog-crate for the German Shepherd, no problem, and you only got stuck some of the time.

With your studded snow-tires you took us skiing at Sundance more times than ought to have been possible for a front-wheel drive. The kids never liked to admit it, but you could climb up almost anything, just as long as it wasn't too steep. Or too slippery.

Ok, let's get real. Sometimes a person needs four-wheel drive and the mini-van WILL NOT make it up the road to the house and that person, sigh, will have to carry three crying kids up the hill in the dark in knee-deep snow while all the SUVs drive past.

Just kidding. They actually stopped and gave us a ride.

And hey, we were building memories, right?

And now you are gone. You had the best intermittent wipers, LYN. So many settings. The Subaru's wipers will never compare.

You were a good friend. You saved our daughter's life. And your final offering: a check from the insurance of the kid who failed to yield on a left turn and plowed into you. We're still waiting on that. But we'll think of you when we cash it.

A moment of silence, please.

Good-bye, LYN. You were a queen among mini-vans.

Playing High and Dry with Sourdough

Lately I've been playing with dough. It's become a sort of a compulsion. Maybe because I'm tired of driving all the way to som...