It seems appropriate today that I am now the owner of a minivan, albeit one of the classiest rides I have ever been in.
This is particularly of note because my first car when I turned 16 was a minivan (a cherry red Ford Aerostar that I just adored at the time). I drove that for a couple years before it basically fell apart.
Over the last year or two, thanks to my two growing boys, I have begun examining minivans closely. At one point recently, a motorist behind me at a light honked his horn for me to proceed through the green light because I was distracted by a stylish minivan in a neighboring lane. I have even begun pointing minivans out to Pam while we are driving. I think at one point I even said “wow look at that one”.
One day recently while in a store parking lot I was smacked in the face with just how much my approach to life has changed.
There was a cluster of minivans all lined up outside a grocery store — a Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Caravan, a Mercury Villager and a Chrysler Town & Country. That I remember all their names from memory might reveal a little too much about me.
Without being too conspicuous, I examined each one intently and marveled how far these vehicles have come since my days of driving one. My Aerostar drove and looked like a mini-school bus basically.
All of these vehicles were sleek and stylish in their own way and each offered a bundle of convenient amenities, not the least of which is remote door openings.
Later, when I went home to learn more about my clear favorite — the Chrysler — I discovered someone else had taken an interest in this particular vehicle.
Apparently, Pam, herself, had beaten me to it and had been doing some research online and a little while later I found a scratch piece of paper comparing the various models of the vehicles with corresponding prices.
That’s when I realized we were probably going to become a minivan family sooner rather than later. That day arrived on Tuesday, as we drove off the parking lot of Barrett Chevrolet in Berlin with a new Chrysler Town & Country.
This might sound ridiculous considering it’s a minivan, but this vehicle is luxury beyond anything I’ve ever owned. As a friend of mine said, if you’re going to the dark side, you might as well go in style.
To make this deal happen, I traded in my beloved Toyota 4Runner, which I bought in late 2001 as a bachelor with visions of putting my then-puppy in the back, putting all the windows down, opening up the sunroof and cruising on Assateague dancing through my head.
While I admit to being a little sad bidding farewell to the first vehicle ever titled to me and paid for by me, those thoughts were quickly dashed when later on that night I was sitting in the minivan quietly exploring it.
There I was sitting in the vehicle in our driveway figuring out how to use the DVD players, turn on satellite radio, switch the lights and windshield wipers on, marveling over the push button start, the remote engine start and other features when I heard a ringing sound from the dash.
When I followed the instructions on the screen, I realized it was a phone call coming in from a friend to my wife’s phone, which by the way was inside the house 20 yards away. There I was talking to her without the phone nearby through a simple touch of the screen because it was now synched to her phone, allowing hands-free talking.
From that point on, I haven’t spent much time thinking about my 4Runner.
Barney rolled into town last weekend and it was a show we couldn’t miss.
Since Beckett turned 3 years old yesterday, we decided to surprise him a little early last Sunday with a live Barney show in Salisbury.
Prior to arriving, we were unsure how this was going to go over — it was either going to be a huge hit or a disaster.
Fortunately for us, it was the former, and I don’t think Beckett or Carson blinked for the first half hour of the show. They seemed to be star struck or perhaps were trying to figure out exactly how the Barney they were watching on the car video player moments before was now on a stage in front of them.
As the show went on and Beckett overcame his initial shock, he got an itch to dance. That soon turned into a desire to get closer to the stage and that soon morphed into wanting to get on stage. That soon enough became wanting to hug and kiss Barney.
Subsequently, a familiar game of retrieval played out, as he would stand by us for a few minutes in the aisle before slowly getting closer and closer to the stage and further and further away.
For the most part, it was fine until he crept close enough to the stage, requiring an event staffer to intervene. We had to take a little time-out then.
Later, after regaining some of our trust, Beckett was spotted holding a little girl’s hand and dancing, but minutes later was found spinning around in circles, knocking the same little girl down inadvertently. They just giggled and returned to grooving together.
Meanwhile, Carson, our 18-month-old, was amazed at the light show and seemed mostly fascinated by how that played out on the ceiling.
When we got the tickets for the show months ago, we didn’t realize it was also Mother’s Day. I knew it was a good Mother’s Day for Pam when I looked over after Barney came out on stage and saw a tear coming down her cheek.
She knew her kids were thrilled and shocked and that makes a mom particularly happy (a dad, too).