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Bye Bye 1971

     May of 2013. We purchased a 1971 VW Van. It was a great life choice at the time. Don got some camping trips in, and we camped together once while picking huckleberries. But the engine needed rebuilt, and the transmission had issues. And, worse, the person Don was associated with during those years suddenly ghosted him. Don had planned on rebuilding the van with this person and he planned on going on many camping trips with this person. https://wordpress.com/post/jacidawn.com/7133

          It just didn’t pan out that way. The other person was a VW mechanic and a van expert. His wife left him, his guru died, and he accused Don of trying to take over some trails in the Clackamas River watershed. The latter was an outburst of anger and frustration aimed at the other parts of his life, but the toll left behind was a severed friendship.

          The van set empty and (mostly) unused. Don rebuilt the transmission and the engine, but still needed some necessary parts to finish the work, as well as a little help from his friends to lift the engine and tranny back into the van. Parts were scarce. Don gets frustrated easily with the Internet and computers in general. We both retired and finances suddenly became “fixed”.

          Don’s hands became bent and arthritic. He couldn’t do the fine motor work he did all through his youth. He aged from fifty-something to sixty-something. The van sat on a stand and the rebuilt engine languished in the garage. There was always the “I’ll find it on the Internet” excuse while his computers died, and his interest waned. His friend no longer called or emailed.

          All of us at a certain age of life relate to this: the plans we made are no longer feasible and we have to decide which plans to let go of.

          Several people stopped and offered to buy the van, but Don was never ready. He was still determined to finish the project he started. He still hoped his friend would come around. It didn’t happen. Two, three – years passed. The van just sat in our driveway, the paint rotting off and paper wasps making nests in the passenger door frame. The north side of the van started growing moss. We were close to being cited by the City of Oregon City for having a dead vehicle parked in the driveway.

          Sunday. November 7. A man came to the door offering cash up front. He’d take the van off of our hands. Six Grand. Had the van been running, it was worth twice that, but t wasn’t running. Don had to make a difficult decision. I didn’t advise him either way, but I located the title when he asked for it.

          And, just like that, the van switched hands.

          Don is actually relieved. He knew he would never finish the project. It was a weight around his neck. He didn’t even realize how much the project had weighed him down until the van was pulled out of our driveway and headed down the road to its new home.

          Me? I’ve wanted the damn thing gone for a long time, but I wasn’t about to step on my partner’s dreams. I don’t want him crushing mine, so I won’t crush his. I left this entirely up to him and offered no opinion either way. This was his baby. I am sorry it didn’t work out for him in the way he imagined it would, but I celebrate that he feels a sudden release of obligation to the project. It was a dream and a good one, but the support group failed. Wherever Don’s original friend is, he failed. Don won’t say that, and it is probably just as well. Life failed his friend and his friend failed him.           The van is gone. We will just move into the next phase of our lives. Hopefully, that includes some more camping – just without the 1971

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