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Final voyage of the hippo car

Twelve years ago Jon won a composing internship in Los Angeles. It was a well earned honor and a very exciting opportunity, and because we were young and impetuous we threw caution to the wind and wrapped our fairly newly married and very newly house-owning lives around that moment. We arranged a long-term house-sitter (my brother), a hiatus from my job that would allow us to keep the health insurance, and even a job offer for Jon on his return. The one thing that we didn't know what to do with was our cadre of dogs. We had three, one of which was a paraplegic dalmatian with a wheel chair and some very special needs. So what do you do when you have a dog—three dogs—that you can't leave behind on your once-in-a-lifetime journey/exploration/vacation/internship? You trade in your sedan for a car that will accommodate the entire group and you all go together.

That car was a Pontiac Vibe, and all on our long journey, whenever the sun was low on the horizon, first early in the morning as we headed west, then late in the evening as we aimed home again, through mountains and plains, the brown of dry desserts and the verdure of lush valleys, its shadow stretched out in front of us on the open road as a fat, round hippo with adorable ears sticking out on each side. Our hippo car.

This all took place long before our blog, and the story of the two-month journey is a post all its own, but the story of that car, purchased with packing two months of necessities and three dogs in mind, turned into a twelve year saga. It trucked those dogs from Michigan to California, and later from Michigan to Washington D.C. Even later it was the car we brought our baby home from the hospital in, and the car that hauled all the dirt for our first garden, and boxes when we moved, and picnics when we hiked.

It's been a great car—no recalls and no major problems, just twelve years of oil changes, tire rotations, and all other regularly scheduled maintenance appointments. But all good things must come to an end, and, twelve years being a good run, when our hippo car started showing signs of wearing out, we decided it was time to take the money and run towards the down payment on a new car. So we drove our twelve-year-old hippo friend one last time . . . to the dealership where we traded it in for a new car.

I should end there, because this post is about saying goodbye to our hippo car, but when any door closes, another one opens, and there is a new car in our midst. When Jon told me four years ago that he wanted an orange Hyundai Veloster, I thought he was kidding. He was not.

We drove there in a hippo, we came home in a pumpkin.

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