The red van is dying. Preparing for the end, I look back over the years we shared together. I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, Safari, parked in the driveway with a “For Sale” sign. DJ was a baby, and I left him in my vehicle while I took you for a test drive. There was no place to put him, anyway, as there weren’t any rear seats. You submitted to my novice pokings and proddings, obediently opening your mouth while I peered inside. Too far from a highway to test the upper limits of your speedometer, we opted instead for the agility test on windy back roads. You passed with flying colors, and the price was right, so you came home to live with us.
The first adventure was to find some seats, a task which required driving to a sketchy salvage yards in the hills of Perry county. They didn’t match, but at least they complimented your rugged interior. Then there was the manure fiasco, in which I overloaded the trailer with fresh horse manure in Grantville. Bolts in the fenders pushed against the trailer tires, wearing grooves in the rubber, and I had to leave the trailer parked at a hotel (not worried in the slightest about someone stealing it!) while I bought a new trailer capable of the task, then transferred the manure to the new trailer. Through it all, you were steady and strong. You didn’t complain when I used you to transport smelly skunks or grouchy groundhogs, or when you were filled with a bunch of sweaty, rowdy kids.
I remember the day I went out the to field and found all four tires flat, the object of vandalism. Trying to figure out how to change four tires at a time was almost more than I could handle. Another time, a tire randomly fell off while I was driving (thankfully, at a slow speed!). More recently, you were stolen, crashed, and abandoned. Each incident has left its mark–a dent here, broken trim there, a door that doesn’t work right. Like an old woman with a litany of maladies, your parts are wearing out. Regular transfusions of power steering fluid are needed, and this week you were taken by ambulance to the hospital. I await the doctor’s diagnosis, wondering how much more you can endure. You will always hold a special place in my heart, Red Van, and your role in building Joshua Farm will not be forgotten.