Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goodbye, Dodger

I'm going to spare you a lullaby to the early 90s, when the kids of Byron Street frolicked outside while partaking in four squares and manhunt as parents sipped lemonade and talked about Ross Perot. My home street glowed with the warm sunshine of good times.

Now it is a dark and dreary cave of living room dwellers who don't know each other and allow their grass to grow taller than Andre the Giant.

I'll spare you that rant as I tell you that my mom's car was stolen last weekend. Swiped right from the driveway in the middle of the night.

A fifteen-year-old Dodge Caravan ... poof. The fact it was taken right from the house has my mom questioning the safety of the old neighborhood for the first time. She's lived there since about 1985.

Steve flashback: This story should remind you of another similar crime perpetrated against the Sears clan.

Yeah, the world is going to hell in a Chinese-made basket. Blah blah. There are two important things I want to relay at this moment. First, bad dog. Bad dog!

The family pet, Jelly Ignatius Mother Hubbard Queen Latifah Sears, did not notice a thing. She will bark if a squirrel sneezes twenty yards away from the house. But if a pack of thieves pilfer the family van parked right outside the window, she doesn't notice a thing. She growls at me if I simply walk by, yet the thieves escape clean.

And don't tell me she was deep in slumber. That little treasures sleeps with one eye open, just in case she catches you doing something that pisses her off.

Second, I'm gonna miss that ol' van. I learned to drive in that thing. I took many a trip back and forth to school while listening to 92 Pro FM in that thing. I took many a trip to Boston in that thing, to move to college in September, 2001 and back to Cranston in utter shame and humiliation in August, 2006.

The Dodge Caravan took us to Virginia and Maine, Pawtucket and Seekonk. It was my Rhode Island car on trips back home.

But like a family pet, it started to lose its faculties as the years fluttered by. The radio went. The brakes weakened. The heat vacillated. But gosh darn did it always get you where you needed to go. And with plenty of space to help four kids move in and out of dorms for nearly ten years.

So forgive me if I mourn the passing of a big part of the Sears family. Like my basketball rim with the 'S' painted on the plywood backboard. I cherished that old hoop. Like the four-foot high removable pool that made 31 Byron the place to be for the neighborhood kids. These objects, while irrelevant in the big picture, constitute the memories of a family and a time long passed.

And the Dodge Caravan was a part of that, and it left us too soon. Right now, it's probably in a million bitty pieces in some West Warwick chop shop, but it will be always be whole where it matters most -- my heart.

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