Three Years Later

Car JunkThe acceleration of our brand new 2003 Chevy Tahoe took me by surprise. I hadn’t felt this much power since driving my old Challenger. Finally, after ten years I was able to buy a new car for my family. No more cracked windows, duct taped dashboard, or knobs that fell off every time we changed radio stations. No more parents tackling their kids as they tried to board our car.

Chris and Jill sat in the back seat. “We can control the air conditioning for back here!” Chris adjusted the knobs in the console above his head.

“What’s air conditioning?”

I made eye contact with Jill in the rear view mirror. “Now you don’t have to be embarrassed when I pick you up at school.”

“I was never embarrassed, Dad.”

Alex sat next to me in the front seat. “I’m driving this puppy in September.”

“We’ll see about that”

“I’ll have my permit. I am driving it, Dad!”

Jill interjected. “How ‘bout you shut up and just enjoy our new car”

“Are we rich now?”

I laughed. “No Chris, I got a car allowance with my new job.”

“Mom’s catching up Dad” Alex yelled, looking out his window. “Floor it!”

“We’re not racing, Alex” Donna waved from behind the wheel of our old van. It was her idea that I drive the new car home from the dealership.

“What are we going to do with that old piece of junk?” Alex asked

“We had lots of fun in that van Alex,” Jill protested. “Stop calling it junk”

Indeed it was more than junk. The old van brought so many good memories. The night before we’d said a formal goodbye to our second home for most of the kid’s childhood. We opened some sparkling cider and held an impromptu driveway celebration. We passed the bottle around the crushed velvet, raisin and bubble gum stained seats and each of us shared a favorite story – camping, watching sunrises, escaping from mosquitoes, My favorite happened a few years earlier when funds were tight. At a soccer tournament and we didn’t have enough money to let Jill join her new club soccer team mates who’d invited her to go out for pizza. Instead we sat in the parking lot of the local Albertsons, eating sandwiches from home with Cheetos knockoffs and cheap fruit pies I’d bought for less than five bucks. The kids were excited about eating junk food and didn’t seem to care about anything else.

Jill looked right sitting in this new car. All three of them did. It was time for them to enjoy something nice. They deserved it.  I couldn’t help but think how close we came to giving everything up.

NEXT: Jeff’s Future is So Bright He Has to Wear Shades.


Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *