Thursday, May 07, 2009

Farewell to Vinnie the Mini-Van

It was a beautiful, bright sunny morning as we sped along our way to the theater. Almost there. It was the second time, actually, that we had halted our way through a series of closely-placed stop signs. Earlier, just as we pulled in the parking lot, Bantam10 realized that he had left his Mayor's tailcoat at home, still on a hanger instead of folded and placed in his costume duffel bag.

So we had gone back for it, and now we were running late. The sun was very bright, and all these stop signs were annoying. But I braked carefully at the last one, and with the intersection clear, I began accelerating, my eyes on a group of teenagers in a field to my left, standing grouped around...something...what was it?

Just then--THWACK! Something collided with our car. I couldn't even see what it was! Then my car was free and I saw another full-size van ahead of me as I braked hard. It had come out of nowhere, from the right, and too late, I realized that the series of stops were not all four-way stops, as I had supposed. The sun must have been shining full on the windshield of the other van, making it seem part of the general glare.

But we were all okay: Bantam10, Chicklet6, Bantam4 and myself. Thank you, Lord!!

I got out and the passenger from the other car met me. "Are you okay? Anybody hurt? Are you sure?" Yes, we're fine--how about you? "We're fine too. Are you sure you're okay? Can I pray for you? You're a believer, aren't you?"

Shocked by these unexpected words, my first reaction was, "Yes, I am. Sure, let's pray!" But as soon as he began to speak, my mind began reeling with all that I needed to process and I said, "Wait. I'm sorry, but I need to check on my kids again." I was thinking that this could be pretty traumatic for them, if they're crying inside the van while I'm out here praying with a stranger!

They were cheerfully fine, although both B10 and Chicklet had hit their heads on their windows. The passenger's wife, the driver, joined us then, and she seemed fine too. She said that with the sun in her eyes, she hadn't seen me either! The police arrived, reports were written and both vehicles towed.

We took all our belongings out of Vinnie first, because we knew we wouldn't be repairing him. Fifteen years old, with 160,000 miles, rusty, and with a useless sliding side door...we had already decided that the next expensive repair he needed would be the last nail in his coffin. I began praying, before we moved last year, that we'd get at least another year out of him--and we did! And I've been praying recently that his repairs would be inexpensive, or else be the conclusive last straw--and this accident was pretty definitive, I'd say.

And it was falling apart. "Yeah, our van is ghetto now," our kids would explain to their friends, when we'd have to climb in through the front doors. Trim was missing from my door, and the wheel well was hugely dented from the time the nice policeman pushed us out of a snowdrift. One could call it an eyesore and I would not have taken offense.

But as I sat behind the wheel for the last time, my eyes searching for any personal effects we'd missed, it felt like leaving a home for the last time. I have lived in that van--so many hours since we bought it 13 years ago, when we had our first three little ones in car seats. It was a home away from home. I will miss it.

Tonight, we are a little achy-er. I think my shoulder will be quite stiff by morning, and my left knee is swollen where it hit the steering column. B10 had a slight headache which went away after he ate, so I'm not sure about him. Another theater parent, a nurse, checked on us all several times while we were at the shows today, and he said we all seem neurologically intact. He told me what to watch for and when to go the ER, and I am so grateful for his care and concern! I think we all are going to be fine, though. Thanks be to God!!


Summer said...

Oh my goodness Jeanne! Praise the Lord that you are all alright. Oh my gosh - I saw this post pop up and Facebook and I clicked over right away. I love you all!

Jennifer Merck said...

Thanks be to God! So glad protected you all.

tonia said...

oh i'm so glad you are okay!!! thank You Lord.

i wanted to tell you i have been here reading...something just always seems to get in the way of my commenting! argh. life! :)

bless you.

Heather said...

I'm so glad that everyone was okay!

truevyne said...

So very glad you are all okay! And aren't you sweetly and terribly sentimental? I never have time to be sentimental about our old vans...they turn into the trash hauling farm vans after they reach a certain mileage or after sounding completely like they'd fall apart the next time we drive.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Thanks Everyone, for joining us in thanksgiving to God for our safety!

Tonia--that's sweet to know. :)

Truevyne--but Vinnie isn't just one in a series of old vans--he's the ONLY minivan I've EVER had! He was only two years old when we got him...(sniff)



Anne Kennedy said...

Boo, but so glad you're ok. The sun thing is awful-So Scary. Many prayers that you'll get the Right car at the Right moment.

Islandsparrow said...

HI Jeanne - I'm just catching up on blog reading and was sorry to hear about the accident! I'm so thankful to hear that no one was seriously hurt. I hope the achiness clears up soon.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Wow, that's awful. Sorry about dear old Vinnie. I get attached to vehicles too... I guess they're a little bit like the family pet or sumpm. Glad y'all all came out of it okay, though.