In 2005, dearly departed Dearly Departed Joe and I owned two cars: a red Ford Taurus wagon, named “Apache,” and my great aunt’s Oldsmobile*, which we inherited and named the “Mimi-Mobile.” The Mimi-Mobile was the perfect vehicle for Joe-DD, but, as they say, nothing lasts forever. When Joe had to open the car door and put his foot down to stop the car, I insisted that it was time to car shop.
On March 30, 2005, we fired up the Mimi-Mobile to go in search of new wheels. We drove the Mimi-Mobile because Joe was certain we could trade it in. I was less certain, but what the heck. If we stayed off freeways and avoided stop signs, we would be fine—I hoped. We had narrowed our choices down to a van that was big enough to hold two full-sized dog crates side by side in the back. Cup holders were also important. My sweet mom was driving her second Honda Odyssey and recommended it. A Toyota van was our second option.
First, we coasted into the Honda dealer for a test drive. The Honda Odyssey was everything we wanted in a van, including the color and the cup holders. It also fit our budget. But we still wanted to check out the Toyota.
The Toyota was also a fine choice. It drove great, and while it had one less cup holder, it had a great place to hang your garbage bag. We were fine with the color, and it was a little less expensive than the Honda.
Decisions, decisions. We decided on lunch. Joe and I always made a big decision by agreeing that we wouldn’t decide until both of us were happy with it. Sometimes that took a while.
After lunch, we went back to the Honda dealership and looked at the Odyssey again, and then we went back to the Toyota dealership. We decided that we wanted to drive both vans again. The Honda had my sweet moms seal of approval, which made it an easy choice for me, but not so much for Joe, who was never sure when my Mom might turn on him—for what, he didn’t know, but he was sure she could strike at any moment. This fear often worked to my advantage, so I wasn’t all that quick to reassure him that my sweet mom only had our best interest at heart. And so, back and forth we went between the two dealerships.
The deal breaker came when we asked the Toyota salesperson about trading in the Mimi-Mobile. He smirked and said it had zero trade in value, at best. Blasphemy! Impertinence! Nobody puts down my great aunt’s Oldsmobile. No Toyota for us!
I prayed as we drove back to the Honda dealership that the salesperson there would be more sensitive. God is good. He offered us $500 for the Mimi-Mobile. We signed the papers, and away we went in our new 2005 Honda Odyssey. We named him Oddie (short for Odyssey) and drove him for 11 years, 160,000 miles, and more memories than I can count. Oddie was never just a van; he was a treasured family member.
Cole learned to drive at Oddie’s wheel, and he kept Cole safe when he soloed behind that same wheel. He transported pups and brought home project material, table saws, and soccer kids. He made countless trips to and from Cole’s school. He could run on his imagination for miles when I forgot to fill up at the last gas station. Oddie was solid, dependable, and always ready for our next adventure, even in his final days.
When the odometer rolled over to 150,00 miles, Cole and I knew that Oddie was past his prime. We carried a battery pack with us to start him as an expensive-to-repair, electrical problem drained his battery (it also caused random acts of window wiper violence). I learned to use the Jump-N-Carry and felt kind of cool hopping out of Oddie, popping his hood, and connecting it. Men always asked if they could help, but no need. I AM WOMAN! Oddie always started right up with a little jump.
In early June, Oddie took a turn for the worse. We were taking pups home when he started blinking, honking, and sputtering. We resurrected him for a short distance before he stalled for good. Our motto: “Stay Calm and Problem Solve.” We made arrangements to take the rest of our campers home, and then we called AAA. The AAA tow truck driver suggested a car garage that was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Later, we found out that this meant they were open Monday to Friday until 1:00 a.m. Whatever—they had Oddie back on the road again by 10:00 p.m. for $120.
The next downward turn came on a Friday night. I stopped at Starbucks to celebrate a week of achievements. Returning to Oddie, I put my mocha frap in the cup holder and put the key in the ignition, hoping Oddie would start on his own. Instead, a loud pop (explosion is more accurate but sounds overly dramatic) and billowing smoke greeted me. Not one to give up, I jumped out of the car with my Jump-N-Carry, but when I opened the hood, it was clear that Oddie’s battery was dead. Hello AAA.
I sobbed in my mocha frap while I waited for AAA to show up and tow Oddie home. It was time to retire Oddie and buy another van (perhaps past time…), but could we resurrected Oddie one last time, just until we could buy the new van?
It was a miracle. My battery was under warranty, so we replaced the old battery with the new, and Oddie started right up. He ran strong for two more weeks. During those two weeks, we took possession of a new vehicle. But more about that in the next post—this post is an ode to Oddie.
This past weekend, we took Oddie for his last car wash and to McDonalds. Oddie loved McDonalds. Then Cole and I cleaned him out and took off his license plates and his Honda decal. We took pictures. On Monday, his final tow arrived. We decided to donate his body parts to Paws (a local animal rescue organization). It was time to say goodbye.
We were inconsolable as we watched the tow truck take Oddie away. He was loyal to the end, staying with us until we had our new vehicle, one I like to think he approved of. (pass the kleenex)
Our Oddie odyssey ended. Thank you, dear Oddie, for the miles and the memories that we will always hold in our hearts.
In Part 2, I will share about Vito, our new two-seater coup, but first Cousin Craig will delight us with us another Odd guest post–coming soon.
Odd Loves Company.
* Do you remember the Oldsmobile slogan?
* If you don’t own a Jump-n-Carry you might want to consider buying one. Quick and easy to use. Much easier than jumper cables. (Amazon–NOT an affiliate link)
Oddie Loved the Car Wash