Van Gogh

20160201_113342I’m not sure if age has taught me not to worry about what others think or if I’ve just learned what’s worth worrying about and what isn’t – either way, the older I get, the less likely it is I’ll be bothered by something superficial. Our 2001 Honda Odyssey – whom I lovingly refer to as Van Gogh – gives me countless opportunities to prove this.

First, it’s a mom-van. Nothing sexy or sleek about this old girl (the van, not me). She’s bulkier than her newer, more streamlined siblings, and no amount of tune-ups can quite cap the old lady smell she gives off when she idles.

Second, it’s almost always loaded with obtainium of some kind – a recent donation, a pile of found treasures, supplies for my next class. Despite the fact that I’m the one who loads and unloads these objects, nine times out of ten I still mutter obscenities when I open the back of my van, only to find it stuffed to the gills (an awkward moment that happens most often in the Kroger parking lot, after I’ve purchased two carts full of groceries).

Last, but not least, there are her battle scars – the gaping hole in the carpet beneath the driver’s feet, the weird smell it sometimes has after it rains, the stereo and dashboard lights that may or may not work, depending on their mood, and the missing door handle, torn off several winters ago, when the door was frozen shut and my husband was certain brute strength could fix that.

You know there’s a story behind my naming her Van Gogh. The men in my house should’ve picked up on that, too, but instead they nodded politely, like I’d just told them we were having chicken for dinner. Hrmmm. I told them her new name again, but with a little added flair. Nothing. So I asked them to guess why/how I chose that name.

“Because you’re crazy?” Ha. Very funny. And Van Gogh wasn’t crazy, he was a tortured soul.

“Because you’re an art teacher?” Good guess, but then why not Van Easel. (Get it? Vin Diesel, Van Easel? Oh, nevermind.) So, why Van Gogh? Think about the van. Think about Vincent . . .

“Because it’s missing its left ear? I mean door handle.” YES!

But it’s more than that (as it always is with me). I look at our 15 year old mode of transportation and try to always remain grateful it goes. For the longest time vans only had one side door, so I remind our boys it would be a luxury to have two, when one gets the job done. My husband is quick to point out that his first car had more than a hole in the carpet – it had holes in the floorboards, large enough you could watch the pavement whiz by when it was in motion. And if my van is too full, it’s by my choice and usually because I’ve received so many gifts lately that I have to make space for the new stuff.

Yes, this cranky old bucket of bolts is something to be treasured.

Corny? You betcha. True? Every last word.


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