Sunday, March 2, 2008
A Eulogy for the Windpuppy
While I am waiting patiently to see how the Reinhart letter goes over, and also for the snow to melt so I can investigate the stones that were seen at the coal pile cemetery, I would like to make a post to thank a long time hunting companion and family friend for twelve years of reliable service. Alot of the Absorbing Errand would not have been possible without her.
Back in 1996 I was the father of three children, with one in a baby car seat, the old sedan just was not cutting it space wise any more. We saved up our money and kept our eyes opened, and that year we bought a 1995 Ford Windstar mini-van to haul the family around in. Although the thought of a mini van made me cringe at the time, its utility of purpose was a godsend. With 20k on it, it was a good deal.
I have often thought that if we would have put a bumper sticker from every place that van took us you would not be able to tell what color it was. It hauled my family on endless daytrips, vacations, events, and everything else you would expect the family wagon to do. We drove it so much that we compiled 100k by 2000, and decided to purchase another Windstar to round out our child hauling years.
Myself, being the driver of the secondary vehicle in the family inherited the 95. I put big home made wooden crossbars on the roof rack to haul canoes and kayaks, pulled out the back seats to give me truck bed like space an took it everywhere. This vehicle became legend where I work, and picked up the name Windpuppy. The Windpuppy took me to canoe trips, bottle digging, metal detecting and on runs to Lowe’s. Back and forth to work alone was 25 miles a day. I have had that van in places and situations where 4x4s feared to tread.
I took the Windpuppy to Gettysburg one autumn and slept on an air mattress in the back at a KOA. It was not the first nor the last time it served as camper. Back in 2002 the transmission on the new Windstar exploded at 70 mph on our way to the NASCAR race in Bristol. Stranded in Westin WV, my in-laws drove down to pick us up while a local dealership replaced the transmission. They brought the Windpuppy.
My appreciation for this particular van was constantly reinforced by the absolutely awful performance and reliability of the new one. I will never own another Ford, and they will never build another Windpuppy.
Last summer, while having the oil changed, the Pennsylvania winters caught up to the old girl. One of the lift supports went up through the rocker panel, and the underbody looked grim. I have been driving my daughter’s car while she is at school, and the Windpuppy sits under a tree in my back yard. Every once in a while a coworker will ask if I will try to resurrect her yet again, and the wife often asks me when I will get it out of the yard.
Today, I cleaned the flotsam and jetsam of a few years of detecting finds, bottles, maps and various other doo-dads out of her for her final trip, one to the junk yard. 178,720 miles on her and all the memories that she transported us to. She has been one worthy of a eulogy.
Windpuppy will meet with a dignified end though, because I will drive her and park her at the yard myself, under her own power. Ten more reliable miles…………..Godspeed my friend.