Old Flames: Do You Ever Encounter Your Former Cars?

I guess it was pretty likely, although Eugene isn’t all that small (over 200k including Springfield next door). Four years ago, when I bought my ’05 Xb, I decided I couldn’t be bothered trying to sell the old family bus, a ’92 Caravan we had bought new. The (fourth, but finally a good one) transmission had a small leak, and there were a few minor niggles, but otherwise it ran fine. So I donated it to Saint Vincent dePaul (natch), which does a fine job building low income housing, among other things. From the gas prices, you can tell my first encounter happened a while back, but it was heart-warming.

The new owner was absolutely thrilled with it, having paid $700 bucks from the Official Curbside Classic Sales Lot. A scrappy man of obvious limited means, the Caravan finally allowed him and his wife to take all five children on longer outings given its reasonable state or reliability and fuel economy compared to some hoary big old rig he previously drove. He lovingly described taking everyone camping and fishing up in the Cascades, just like the Caravan had regularly schlepped my family and canoe for memorable trips. That made my day.

That was three and a half years ago. Fairly recently, I was trolling a neighborhood of modest houses, when there it was again, in the driveway. The tell-tale A (Austria) sticker my son had put on after he came back from a visit there confirmed it the minute I saw it. Still soldiering away; that made my day, again.