A while back, my trusty green 2000 Pontiac Montana van and I hit a milestone. But first, let’s go back and tell you how we met….
My new cars usually have 60,000 miles on them along with some nice extras. I never considered buying new until back in the year 2000 when several incentives combined to make a new vehicle a justifiable consideration in my world. We then purchased our trusty green Pontiac Montana van.
The boys were 11 and 14, and I remember them loving the leg room for their growing bodies. We even topped it off with our personalized license plate of MBZAJ (Mike, Brenda, Zach, Alex, Johnson). This van has become iconic to our family and known as “my van” wherever I go. We have since moved the personalized plate to our Lucerne (when we added Missy to the plate MBZAMJ). But I’ve heard the van called the “Brenda-mobile.” I call her “my” van, because as she aged, and Mike thought it time to move onto the next vehicle (at my refusal), she suddenly became “mine.” Mine when she needed a “new this” or a “repaired that.” He wanted it to be clear that he felt it illogical to keep her past her prime. She was mine. Of course, I’ve always liked her versatility. She can hold 8 adults for an outing, move a son to college, you name it, she could do it.
I’ve grown attached to this vehicle for many practical (and some not so practical) reasons since that first day I met her, when Fred Troutwine showed me around her features and interior, then turned the keys over to me. (See the recent photo of Fred and I remembering that day back in 2000, graciously taken by his wife Carolyn.)
She is green like the color of my eyes. I drove her to and from work at Miami Valley CTC for 15 years (where its presence would show where and when I was subbing). She took us on countless vacations, the first of which we brought home a porch swing (squeezing the boys in around it). She’s been to Holmes County, Niagra Falls, Colorado Springs; Orlando, Florida; Wisconsin Dells; Washington, DC; and more. She’s taken boys to football and track practice, and to college. She’s hauled groceries, bushes, trees, flowers, furniture, family, Black Sheep, children, teenagers on a YFC manhunt, and her favorite load, “just me” (with the CD player cranked up while I was singing). She rides low enough to feel like a car, but big enough to do almost any job or haul any group.
In her later years, I’ve “maintained the heck out of her.” I have frequent flier miles at Troutwine’s service department. Ken Daughtery has taken great care of her and me in the many decisions we’ve had to make on her repairs. She’s had numerous minor and major repairs to make it thus far. I’m to the point I don’t think mechanical problems will “take her,” but rust. She has not had the luxury of living in a garage, so moisture has taken its toll. She’s had her front end replaced after a truck ran a red light in Dayton and I T-boned it. She’s had some repair work after a dog ran out in front of me. She’s got a new grill after a bird hit, and I even replaced the broken-down driver’s seat with one from the junk yard. There’s been transmission, head gasket, and other big fixes, but overall, she is a trusty girl. We have a history. (My mom thinks I want to be buried in her.)
After all of this maintenance and TLC, we reached the milestone of a quarter of a million miles!
An accomplishment that certainly has come with a cost, but an accomplishment none the less. (See my next blog discussing our throw-away society, and if all of these repairs were worth it!)
So for those of you that are used to seeing me driving around in my green van, I appreciate your sharing this milestone with me. She’s getting elderly. I hope she lasts till 300,000, but we will have to see. I’m aging too. I understand that death is inevitable. (For the van, for the VAN…..OK… for me too.) But I’m still optimistic. I just put some 70,000 mile tires on her!
So if you’d like to take a ride in her…you may need to ask me soon, because someday, it will be too late. I’m driving her till her wheels fall off. She’s all mine, start to finish.