I think we’re all feeling a little nostalgic about Aunt Bee. Not the original Aunt Bee.
See, that’s what we call the van. She’s getting on up there in years and, with her dents and dings and moans and groans, she always seems frazzled and on the verge of breaking down. But, nevertheless, she always comes through for us. And, sometimes, there’s cookies. Okay, not really on the cookies (unless we buy them), but hopefully you get my point.
Aunt Bee joined the family when the 8yo was just 6 months old. Even still, the older two barely remember the family vehicle we had before (a white jeep Grand Cherokee that could handle my curb attraction a bit better). She’s pushing 200 thousand miles and seems to need some sort of work every other month, but she’s hard to let go. I keep saying she’ll have to quit on us before we quit on her. Now, 8 years and 200k isn’t bad for a vehicle, and it sure is nice not having a car payment for years. There’s a line from the first Indiana Jones movie, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Well, where Aunt Bee is concerned, it may not be the years, or the mileage, but the … experiences.
You see, Aunt Bee has not only been there for the raising of three children. She’s also survived at least 6 moves, countless road trips (with and without dogs), carpools with friends, and a wide variety of live and inanimate cargo – from instruments to sports equipment to furniture to household pets to farm animals. Over the years, Aunt Bee has toted humans, dogs, birds, lizards, snakes, spiders (!), mice, dairy goats, chickens, and rabbits. And I’m still likely forgetting something.
But it’s not just what she’s carried; it’s what she’s “seen.” There’s a “conversation mirror” on the outside of the sunglasses holder, just above the rearview mirror.
It’s been a surprisingly nice little feature, allowing me to truly have eyes in the back of my head (something all mothers need at times). The other day, the Girl said we needed to install a wide-view camera to capture all the conversations and happenings that take place within the van. I think she may be on to something. Lord knows a good majority of my blog material has occurred in that setting.
Take for instance, the latest random conversation:
This past weekend, we traveled to Birmingham to visit family. While on our way to dinner with Mema and Danny, we picked up on an earlier conversation Mema had been having with the kids. No, not one about grades or school or friends. No, that’d be too normal. Instead, they’d been talking about who would do what job after the apocalypse. Because it’s always good to plan ahead.
So, Mema would be the cook. The Girl is supposed to be studying up on plants so she can be the resident Neville Longbottom in the event the world as we know it ends. Apparently they’d decided that Boy Genius (or the Professor, or Turdnugget, depending on his attitude) needed to study up on alternative fuels but he’d rejected that appointment. He wanted to be the hunter or basically do something with guns. Now, I’m the executioner: I’ll be the one to decide if you’re an asset or a liability. If you’re good for the community, you get to stay/live; if not you’re outta here. The Girl did not like this idea at all; she’s got too big a heart. She doesn’t think anybody should be killed for any reason; don’t even get her started on inevitable cannibalism!
Well, when her brother started arguing about not liking his assigned job, I said, “Dude, I’m gonna have to kill you.” Thinking he could play to sentimentality, he whined, “But I’m your son; you couldn’t kill me.” To which his sister piped up: “I could. I couldn’t kill anybody, but I’d kill you.” Silence. Then laughter.
So it’s probably a good thing there’s no camera in Aunt Bee. And clearly my nostalgia for her will go out the window when she stops being useful.
But we’ll always have cookies.