By Mo Macsai-Goren
CLEVELAND – Dad’s mood shifted rapidly Wednesday night as sources inside his 1999 Toyota Sienna confirmed that he absolutely flew over that last pothole. Swearing through gritted teeth, Dad experienced a potpourri of emotions ranging from white-hot, blissful rage to rational economic concern as his minivan violently bottomed out in the middle of the street. Everyone inside the vehicle fell silent as Dad began to process his feelings with the help of his Joel Osteen audiobook.
Dad loved that car. Although it wasn’t the sleekest or sportiest model out there, it got him to work, the kids to school, and that half empty bottle of water from 2009 to every stop in between. That Toyota Sienna was a part of the family and every time he careened into a pothole, it felt as though he was punching one of his own children square in the face.
He would have to be more careful if he wanted to teach Tommy and Susana to drive in their childhood car. If the van needed repairs, he’d have to dip into the vacation fund and, while he was sorry to even think this, he would have to choose the repairs over a four day weekend in the Wisconsin Dells.
The kids kept talking. Didn’t they know that the more distracted he was, the higher the chance of going over another pothole? He knew the last one sounded expensive but to hit two in a row? On the same trip to the restaurant that was and always has been walking distance from the house? Goodbye wave pool, hello Jiffy Lube. While he didn’t mind Jiffy Lube (decent coffee), he knew the kids would much rather be at the Kalahari tropical resort in the middle of rural Wisconsin.
Dad’s Joel Osteen CD ended (disc 4 of 9) and as he momentarily shifted his glance to swap discs, the van hit a cavernous pit and shook violently. Dad knew it was the end. No more wave pool or eating chicken fingers with sopping wet, chlorinated hands. He would take the car in first thing tomorrow and restart the vacation fund as soon as possible. He fell silent as a single tear rolled down his cheek.
He had been promising to take his kids to the Dells for a year now. Unfortunately it seemed like the lord had other plans. Dad increased the volume on the Osteen CD and relaxed a bit. There was nothing he could do. It was all over.