Ode to Oddie – Honda Van with a Heart


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)

car wash_

Oddie Loved the Car Wash


Happy Meal!

18 thoughts on “Ode to Oddie – Honda Van with a Heart

  1. I am now mourning a car I never rode in. I know Oddie had a good life filled with fries, kids, and adventeurs. As you said at the top of your post “nothing lasts forever,” but Oddie seemed to hold out as long as he possible could. Such loyalty is hard to find these days in a car.
    I’m looking forward to hearing about the new car. A two seater in your business? I’m curious.
    RIP Oddie. You deserve it.

    • Thanks Kelly. He did have a good life and gave us his very best.
      Post coming up about the new car!

  2. I understand how attached we can become to our vehicles. I feel the same with my ’04 Grand Cherokee with 124k & still going strong. Not looking forward to saying goodbye ever.

    • I know they say we should be happy it happened instead of sad that is over. But when a whole lot of your life is caught up in something that is hard advice to follow especially in the moment.

  3. Oh Oddie—you served so well all those years. Glad to get the chance to meet Oddie and look forward to all of your adventures in your new ride! Thanks for sharing your Odd memories. 🙂

    • My pleasure. The new ride is coming along. Cole is almost finished remodeling the inside. It’s not Oddie but not worrying about the temperature gage rising is a blessing.

  4. Ahh. Oddie was a strong and able travel companion. The memories and stories he was involved in are priceless and we thank you for sharing them with us. I love the fact his next step in life was to help PAWS.

    • Thank you for being such a good audience as we went through our trials and tribulations. Paws seemed to be a fitting way to say goodbye.

  5. Katybeth, this post really speaks to me. Ever since totaling my Kia, I’ve been car-hunting, and as you know, ’tis NOT easy. I just really miss my Kia, and I can empathize with your feelings. Oddie was a reliable and true friend, and I know he will be missed. I think he’d have liked that his parts went to help Paws, too.

    • It is sad. At least we were planning to buy a new car and pretty much had made up our minds when the time came—you were blindsided! Which makes it much more difficult.

  6. I feel sure that Cole could have kept the car running for another 100,000 miles. He’s like MacGyver. If we were stranded on an island Cole would be making the bicycle/generator out of bamboo that powered our radio. He would create super glue using nothing but cat urine and pine sap that would repair our boat and allow us to sail home.

    • Funny you should mention this…after Cole attached the Jump-N-Start with electrical tape to the battery of Oddie so we could drive to one more clients house to drop off a pup ( we could have gone further if we had a larger Jump N-Start and I had stronger nerves) he told that in India they are legendary for keeping their cars running—They will put one child on the side of the hood of the car to pour coolant back in the engine while another child runs alongside the car and collects the coolant. The fun thing—they look like they are having fun…if only I had more kids. I would have borrowed a couple but parents are so much more protective these days. . .

  7. I’m sorry. A good car is hard to lay to rest. And they do hold a lot of memories. It was very hard for me to sell my dad’s car when he passed. It wasn’t anything special but it had lots of special memories and it took me a long time to let it go.
    Looking forward to reading about the new wheels.

    • I know that was hard. You know it’s just a car–but it’s not just a car….At least we get to keep the memories.
      New car post coming up soon.

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