The Doyle minivan/Bill Doyle photo

In 2001 my wife and I had three children, a 5 year old, a three year old, and a one year old. We decided that getting three car seats into an SUV was too much of a hassle and we should take the plunge and buy a minivan. My wife wasn’t too pleased about that, she didn’t want to be a stereotypical “soccer mom” driving a minivan, but she eventually capitulated.

We bought a 2002 Chrysler Town and Country, Consumer Reports’ “Best Minivan” with all the bells and whistles: an in-dash DVD player, heated seats; the works. Over the next fifteen years, that minivan ferried children to innumerable hockey games, dance recitals, baseball practices, and an annual nine hour road trip to St. Louis. I never actually watched a movie on that DVD player, but I must have listened to over 100. The aggregate total of spilled juice, Swedish fish, and, yes, vomit, would fill a stadium. The van itself wasn’t the repository of a ton of memories, but it was the vehicle that transported us to most of our memories. As you might expect, it hasn’t exactly been running at top form for the last couple of years, and we knew the time was approaching for us to get rid of it. The battery died a few weeks ago, and while that’s not a cataclysmic expense, it was, yes, the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Since it didn’t run and we didn’t have an urgent need to trade it in, we decided to donate it to Kars For Kids. This morning they came to haul it away on a flat bed, and my wife was disconsolate, but, then again, she was the primary driver. So, the minivan is gone, but the memories, like the ground-in fruit snacks in the carpet, remain forever. The “Minivan” chapter of our life is over; I’m kind of excited to see what’s next.

Sign up for the Newsletter

Get the best of delivered to your inbox every day.