My Grandfather's Minivan

I can still remember my grandfather’s minivan with vivid detail. Gray were the interiors and gray was the outside, although the painting was blue. How come? He never washed that old Voyager. Coated in dust like a breaded chicken breast prior to frying, that minivan took me and many others to magical places. Several were the hours that I would be crammed into the vehicle, together with my grandmother and cousins, like a bunch of pool balls squeezed perfectly into place in their rack. As the youngest, I would always seat in the third row, next to a heavy toolbox and a rusty can of WD-40, but a whole different thing it was when I was riding alone with my grandpa. I was the king. Riding shotgun, windows down, stereo all the way up, cranking hours and hours of what seemed as archaic music to me. Little did I know that this “archaic” music (AKA “jazz”) would become one of my favorite later in life. Somewhere in the messy central console, located between the two front seats, my grandfather always kept a glass (usually a red Solo cup) a bottle of Coke and a bottle of Appleton State, his favorite rum. Punctuality was one of his main traits, and as the punctual man he was, he would arrive 30 minutes earlier to any place he had to go. He figured he rather wait, turn the engine off, lay back in his seat and play some jazz while sipping on more than just one glass of rum with Coke instead of being in a rush. So it was not a surprise when I got out of school and I found him waiting (or sometimes even sleeping) in the parking lot, engine off, music up, glass full. Some days he would even bring me a bottle of juice, a ball cap and sunglasses to impress the ladies on my way out of the parking lot. Some other days we would drive to the beach and eat some shrimp, fresh and ready to peel. The Chrysler van then would take us to the shore, where we would park it and walk along the breakwater, all the way to the end of it, where the lighthouse stands. Time flew and we all got older, the minivan included. 83 years old, my grandfather was still driving that old, rusty, dirty and battered Voyager. The rear bumper had completely fallen off, one wheel did not match the other three and the seats were no longer seats, but racks for tools, buckets and machinery he kept hauling back and forth to the beach, to work in the construction of his beach house. The car seemed to have been through war, but no, it just had been through my grandfather’s life.    

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Dedicated to my grandfather Rubén Marrufo, who died at age 83 this last June. His memory will never be forgotten, let alone all those great times in that old Chrysler Voyager.

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