It is a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina APV (all purpose vehicle). As this is being written, it has exactly 141,473 miles on it. It is two-tone green and silver with gray cloth interior. Even new, one could not say that this particular invention of General Motors could be an eye-catcher (except maybe in its odd dust buster look). It came to the family on December 12, 1997 and had 29,996 miles on it. It has “character marks” all over it as a result of the three kids learning to drive in it. Every external scar has a story behind it. There is the cracked fiberglass on the left rear lower quarter panel added by the daughter backing into a large rock (though she would state most emphatically that the rock had, in fact, attacked her). The most recent scar was from a narrow miss with a rural mail carrier on the front right side. It has been used in countless cross country trips, camping excursions, and innumerable trips to the grocery store. It has even hauled a load or two of compost. The “millineum falcon” as it has been dubbed, has been maintained in perfect unison to the instructions of its manufacturer and has never once failed to do its duty. Despite all my efforts, it shows the signs of old age. The electric windows will go down but it is a great struggle to get them back up. The automatic sliding door no longer works. The “service antilock” light is on in perpetuity and it is in dire need of shocks and struts. The rack and pinion are showing signs of impending demise, and, as is typical of this make and model, the paint on the top is fading out. She is, however, as sturdy and dependable a steed as she has ever been. This stalwart of American iron never burns a drop of oil, never fails to start, and always stays started. She has occupied the driveway for all these 12+ years and will continue to do so even now in its later years.
It is no longer the primary family transporter, being relugated to serve the last of the siblings in his daily rounds to work and school. Recently, the offspring of the household declared that it could never be sold out of the family, such is its deep connections to all of us. It has been part of the anchor that gives continuity to the family. In its old and odd way, the old friend is part of who we are. That’s the way things ought to be.