the send-off (a Broken World story)
The Viking family stood on the driveway saying goodbye to their minivan. And by Viking I don’t mean they were wearing fur pelts and hats with horns jutting out of them, only that they were of Scandinavian descent.
The minivan in question was their sole family vehicle for the past 221,000 miles. It had been a good minivan and everyone on the driveway was sad to see it go. Each of them had many fond memories associated with it.
It had driven the father to and from work for the past eight years. It had transported him to difficult meetings and promotions alike. He had regular hosts programmed into radio and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been alone in the minivan and had listened to music as he drove. He ran his hand affectionately over the minivans hood.
It had taken the mother to and from the grocery store countless time. It had safely carried the kids to an endless number of Little League games and ballet classes. Parent-teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments and vacation destinations. She stood silently recounting all of these trips. She reminded herself to take out the Best of Gloria Gaynor CD that still sat in the player. She hummed I Will Survive to make sure she didn’t forget.
The boy, on the cusp of being a man, learned to drive in this minivan. His younger sister, standing next to him, had learned much more than that in the back seat. Just last year, only a year after getting her driving permit, she’d lost her virginity in it.“ The illicit love visit”… or when she ‘gained her womanhood’ as she preferred to think about it. While her brother sat in the front seat gripping the steering wheel she sat in the back, lost in her own world. Completely oblivious to the trembling of the wheel as her brother gripped it tightly and reminisced about the first and only time he’d ever driven over 80 mph.
Or perhaps it just enhanced her recollections.
In a little while the parents would take the minivan to a local car dealer and come back home in a new SUV. It was a little like switching out a family member. They thought it appropriate to have everyone come out and say a solemn farewell, each in their own way, before taking the final drive to the dealership. Eventually they decided to head back into the house for a few minutes and let the kids have a moment alone with the 2013 Honda Odyssey.
Known as LaGreat (ラグレイト) in Japan, the Odyssey is manufactured and marketed by Japanese automaker Honda. The name is a Greek allusion because it connects to Odysseus, a king of Ithaca and Greek leader in the Trojan War who after the war wandered ten years before reaching home. (Nowhere near 221,00 miles though and never getting anywhere close to Scandinavia)
odyssey /ˈädəsē/ noun a long and eventful or adventurous journey or experience
The couple talked about how appropriate the name was. What a strange and wonderful odyssey the minivan had been a part of. They started to swap dozens of minivan-related stories, until they began to wonder what was taking the kids so long. “They must really be having a hard time saying goodbye” suggested the father.
“Yeah. I guess they’ve grown pretty attached to it” agreed the mother. They both seemed pleased that their children were so sensitive.
Then they smelled smoke.
They both rushed outside to see the minivan, now surrounded by wood taken from the fireplace stash that sat by the side of the house, completely engulfed in flames.
For a moment both parents grudgingly admired the makeshift pyre, until the mother remembered that they had used the minivan as a trade-in for the new SUV. Without it they wouldn’t be able to afford the model that they had both preferred. The one with the remote-start feature and heated seats. She gasped audibly when she realized that the seats in her current vehicle had become extremely heated. There would be no rescuing her Gloria Gaynor CD.
The father looked at his two Viking children, wearing fur pelts and hats with horns jutting out of them, and wondered how they were going to be able to get to the car dealership now.