Turns Out I Love an Old, Beaten-Down Car: Everyday Magic, Day 613

All four corners of the car have smashed in bumpers. One sliding door only works in the perfect conjunction of stars, WD-40 and gentle effort. The engine light has been on for seven years. No matter, I love this Toyota Sienna van, starting easily despite its 207,455 miles, a love I wasn’t so aware of until our financial guy told us to get rid of both our cars and buy a pair of cheap Hyundais. I was ready to follow his advice until I got back into the driver’s seat of the van. Then it hit me: this is the first and only car I’ve truly loved.

And why shouldn’t I love it? This car is not only comfortable with a vengeance, but it has hauled hundreds of things and thousands of stories, including:

  • A very large futon and chair that the shop owner was sure I couldn’t stuff into the van (but I did)
  • Our whole family, two tents, three coolers, a box of dry goods, seven suitcases, six backpacks, rain gear, two tarps, assorted tools, a small cooking stove and propane, a pile of graphic novels and Madlibs, plus who-knows-what-else for a week of camping in Colorado
  • Many vacuums over the years spied on curbs during half-the-town-move-out week in Lawrence (aka last week in July)
  • Six poets, including one 7-feet tall, all our luggage, piles of books to sell and lots of popcorn, chips and hummus, and rosemary shortcake to get us to the southwest corner of Kansas and back
  • The whole innards of Daniel’s dorm room, including stereo,

    Seriously, this chair is uglier than it looks in this picture

    computer, all clothes, a giant bowling pin and a particularly ugly (but comfortable) lime green chair

  • One canoe, two kayaks, six people, paddles, life jackets and lunches
  • The entire GSBTQQ (gay straight bi trans queer questioning) alliance of Lawrence High School
  • Kelley Hunt’s piano, red guitar, cowboy boots, CDs and t-shirts for sale, clothing for both of us for six days (including performance gear, aka black and glittery), my books for sale, 11 yoga mats, a mess of art supplies, and Kelley Hunt herself
  • A king-sized very heavy couch (strapped to the top of the van like a prize buck) that freaked out my daughter when I picked her up from school that day. Years later, a very large red couch and other furniture driven up to her in St. Paul (fitting miraculously in the van)
  • Over 2,000 bags of groceries, mostly from Checkers and the Merc
  • All five of my family plus my 80-something mother-in-law, eight suitcases, piles of Christmas gifts we were hauling back to Lawrence, and over 14 bags of groceries one snow-packed day, all of which needed to be ferried from where the van got embedded in the snow at the start of the drive to our houses
  • Two big dogs and a gaggle of teenagers
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