fourteen years ago our first big purchase as a married couple was a big, beautiful brown van that would give us years of tremendous service. we were moving to nashville in a few months and knew a van would serve us well, both for hauling dave’s drums and the dogs. i can vividly remember the day we found the ad in the nj paper and went to “just look.” as we were pulling up to the address i saw the brown behemoth and said to dave “his name’s shaki and he’s beautiful” (i have a strange need, and i think knack, to name cars). at the time he was a sprightly 12 years young, had a bed in the back and was built chevy tough (can i get sued by ford for that???) we told the owner that we’d think about it and pulled away – we made it a few blocks and pulled up to a pay phone (remember those), called him and told him to slap a sold sticker on him. shaki has been a family member for as long as we’ve been a family. he’s been our hauler of drums and dogs, he’s been our mode of transportation when we couldn’t afford airfare, he’s been a hotel room (more times than i care to remember), he’s been a mule, a workhorse and an all-around beloved dude. however, at 26-years-old he’s getting tired and at about 10 miles to the gallon it’s becoming a bit irresponsible to drive him. after secretly searching for a diesel van that could be converted to run on waste vegetable oil (wvo) on craigslist i finally found one. it took a little work on my part to convince dave that taking shaki off the road and getting another van that runs on wvo was a good choice for our future (and our global footprint) but he finally agreed to look, mind you just look. i’ll cut to the chase and tell you that i can be a persistent bugger and we are now the proud owners of an ugly white diesel work van already converted to run on wvo that has very good bones, who i have dubbed milton, and will shortly be a stunning earthdog mobile.
lest you think i’m ready to thank shaki for his years of service, bid him adieu and toss him into some metal graveyard, think again. i have plans for shaki that will feature him as the loved member of the family that he is and shall remain to be. shaki’s getting an upgrade and will be parked in our gardens as a cabana (or as i like to call it a vanana) to be enjoyed by all of us, most of all by the dogs. we will be gutting his innards and outfitting him with some sort of seating, a chandelier and a mosaic floor that will make him glorious for his second life. there are big plans in my head, plans i say, that i just have to find the time to execute. a dear friend once incredibly accurately and astutely stated “there are no inanimate objects in kym’s life” (thanks larry) and he has no idea that him stating that made me see it and accept it…it was a big moment in my life. i’ll keep you apprised of the progress on both shaki & milton (whether you like it or not)