Friday, October 12, 2012


Dear Temple,
I hope this note finds you well and happy. This weekend we will be going Van shopping. I will now join the ranks of my fellow children heavy-adults with this practical purchase. Your Aunt Crystal wants something brand new, five star safety rated and top-of-the-line. I want something with a thrown engine rod I have to tow away myself that I can pick up for about fifty bucks. With our marital powers combined we should drive away something used, well maintained, low miles and at a reasonable price.
I'm not too keen on owning a van and Crystal isn't either. It is a necessity with the four kids and a dog. I have experience driving a van as I learned how to drive in one. My parent's owned a Plymouth Voyager. It was beige to the max with that lovely fake-wood siding. I used to call it the 'chick magnet' since there was space and appropriate seat belts for seven passengers. The idea for 'chick magnet' was both a sarcastic and a very unrealistic moniker at the same time. I don't think I had seven chicks sign my highschool yearbook let alone want to ride in the same car with me. :)
The chick magnet ran for a good long while, but eventually the transmission went as usually happens in those vehicles and my folks didn't think it worth the cost of the fix. They were probably right.
I even used the van for my driver's test. During the test I ran a stop sign. The guy who was administering the test freaked out but I told him no police officer would pull over such a sensible vehicle. I don't think he would have passed me except I was stubborn with the parallel-parking and didn't stop backing up and pulling forward until I had it perfect. At least I think that was the rationalization he mumbeled as he tossed the paperwork for my liscense at me.
Thinking of that time in my life always brings to mind my driver's education class and the teacher - Mr. Toebe. He stands out to me because as the class progressed, Mr. Toebe's personal hygiene regressed. It was like I was watching him in the throes of a slow-burn depression breakdown which got worse as the weeks went by. He was nerdy, pudgy and clean-cut at the start of the class. By the end he was unkempt, dumpy and stained. What happened to the guy? I'll never know. I was busy with my own problems. The class was me and a bunch of Wisconsin farm boys who had been driving since they were ten. They could drive anything and everything and all I had ever driven were the bumper cars at Bay Beach.
Anyway, if we find a suitable ride I'll have a van by Sunday. Thank Goodness the Gremlin comes on Monday.
I love you much and miss you always,
                 Uncle Justin

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