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Vigil: Her time came, but memories of the 'Granny Van' will live on
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Vigil: Her time came, but memories of the 'Granny Van' will live on

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The last week of 2021 brought a sad ending to our year, but precious nonetheless.

My wife, Gail, shares her thoughts in this column:

It’s been a 10-year relationship.

That’s a record for me. I’ve had several vehicles over the years.

My first was a $300 ’63 Chevy Impala “jalopy.” Working as a waitress after school, I earned enough to buy it on my own.

It carried me through high school and vocational school. The Minnesota winters were a bit challenging flying down Highway 10 with my window down so I could see when the defroster and wipers would quit working. But I loved her.

Then I met my dream car, a ’69 Mustang Coupe. Classic. We did a few loops on ice and there was the drive in downtown Minneapolis without a heater on a very frosty night. But I didn’t care, I loved her. However, her block cracked, or so I was told. Not sure they were talking about her or me.

It was a good time for buying new cars, so I bought a new 1974 Mustang fastback, baby blue. For $3,600. That doesn’t even make a decent down payment these days. She ran like a beauty and looked like one too. And I loved her.

After that, all my automobiles have been co-owned with my favorite person, and we’ve had several, though none

so loved.

I’ve never loved another automobile until we bought the 2006 Dodge Caravan in 2012. Not classic, not a beauty. You see, my nest was empty.

Why did I need a minivan? I could have had another Mustang or a cute little sports car to make me more attractive. But I love to go treasure hunting, and by that, I mean “thrift treasures.”

I wanted something to haul my treasures. Dependable ... comfortable ... spacious ... perfect — just me and my van.

But as it turned out, my grandchildren started coming as the real treasures, and “The Van” became “The Granny Van.”

It was great to haul them from place to place. I could see them and hear them without too much twisting and turning. I could get them in and out and all buckled up as snug as bugs in the Granny Van. I could sit in the back with them on long trips.

We discussed who gets the best seat, what song should we sing, enjoyed the open view to play I Spy and, the best of all, listened to “Adventures in Odyssey.”

You see, I had done this once before with three other little ones. It was another van and another time, but, oh, just as sweet.

The laughter, the bickering, the loud singing, the playful combat — all just a sweet, sweet sound to my ears. And the Granny Van ... I loved her.

She was towed away on Monday. She’s had all she can take and we are putting her to rest. It will bring a new era for me; putting away of the old and pressing on to the new. Seems funny to be attached to a vehicle, but the voices inside of her will forever resonate in my heart.

Thank you, dear Granny Van.

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