Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sad Note

Melody Yellowvan, our beloved 1996 Honda Odyssey, is on its last

We bought it in May 2006, used, from a nice Turkish family that were returning to Turkey. They fed us Turkish pizza--it had mashed potatoes and hot dogs on it, and I was genuinely surprised that it tasted good. Most expensive car we've ever owned, too--we had to use our whole tax refund plus borrow $2200 from my parents to pay for her, but we've owned her outright all this time.

In just over 4 1/2 years, we've put almost exactly 120,000 miles on that car, bringing the total miles up to over 250,000 miles. We've put on numerous sets of new tires. We had her fitted with a tow hitch and bought a little yuppie wagon trailer that she pulled, fully loaded with sound equipment when she was already fully loaded with people. In all of that, she's  had maybe 3 formal oil changes and one repair--to the power steering system when a part broke--and it had to be done twice. Because music is a tough business, she's had no new filter, no tune ups, no flushes or help of any kind. I think my Dad put new breaks on her once or twice.

Melody has been thrown up in, spilled in, colored, scratched, cleaned. One child drew a giant smiley face on her hood in permanent marker. She's been in a few fender-benders. We even made up a song about her that everyone in the family can and does sing.

In that time, we toured all over the West, sometimes with musicians and sometimes with kids in the car. We've gone from having 3 kids to having 6, bringing home three new babies in that van. We've lived in 4 houses in 3 states (beginning and ending in the exact same house). We've had trips to the church, school, library, grocery store, ER, dentist, doctor's office, airport, mountains, ocean, Grandma's house, weddings, funerals, duck ponds, friend's houses. We've had major discussions, and long quiet drives. The radio died not long after we bought her, and we never fixed it--and that's been a really wonderful, pleasant thing. The car became a kind of sanctuary for learning, discussion, and quiet thought. It's a place where Tim composed, revised, planned, dreamed, worked.

Unfortunately, no car can last forever. The tail gate no longer stays up. The inside driver's-side door handle is long gone (you have to open the window to let yourself out). The windows are scratched. The paint is dinged up. The front turn signal is missing entirely. It's been bumped, bruised, rear-ended (lightly, but more than once). And, as of this week, the engine is smoking like crazy, and it's going through a quart a oil a day. At least. And we're not driving it far each day.

With 250,000 miles on it, and without enough seats for our whole family anymore, it's getting close to time to say goodbye to Melody Yellowvan.

She's been a fantastic car--how many cars can take that much abuse and just keep going without needing either maintenance or repairs?

We'll miss her.

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