There is something very special about a family vehicle – especially one that has been a part of your life for 15 years.
In October, 1993, my husband and I purchased a 1993 Ford Villager in Brandon, Manitoba. It was a Merlot wine colour, with a gold racing stripe along the side.
Our Villager never had a name, we just affectionately referred to it as ‘the van’ – and it took us everywhere. We vacationed all over the western provinces and traveled to numerous tournaments for soccer, judo, hockey and lacrosse. The van took us to weddings, funerals, a variety of shopping malls (we have girls!) and was our primary mode of transportation. We ate in it, slept in it, our kids got sick in it, and it pulled our Coleman tent trailer to many a mosquito-infested campsite.
As the years went by, things began to go wrong on our beloved vehicle.
An odd electronic seatbelt system (referred to as a ‘belt retractor’) refused to work if the temperature dipped below -10 degrees C. (and living in Fort McMurray, Alberta, this happened a lot!)
The transmission died at a four-way stop sign in Boyle, Alberta (population 918) late on a Friday night.
And heaven forbid you rolled down the electronic windows in the cold - many a time we had to drive around ‘windowless’ after a lengthy stop at the Tim Horton’s drive-through.
There were also many stains, nicks and dents on the old van that we just never were able to remove; I guess these all just added to its personality.
Our van was a loyal companion but the time finally came at the 268,000 kilometre mark on the old odometer. It just didn’t make financial sense to repair the van’s various clunks and rattles. The call was made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada for a vehicle donation pick-up. Photos were taken; tears were shed. We did the final clean-up of the van and paused, one last time, before sliding the side door closed.
I’m driving a Toyota RAV4 now. I trust it and feel confident in it – but I just don’t feel the same affectionate vibes that I did in the van. RIP, 1993 Ford Villager – you are missed.
Photo credit: Gary Simmons