Granny Van heads into retirement


Leah Lehman, Leader Columnist

To trade or not to trade, that has been a question popping around in my mind for the past couple of months. Whether it is better to keep on driving the 11-year-old Granny Van, with its 180,000 miles, or to look at something else.

I was the one who loved my car until I went to have the oil changed one day and got talked into buying a van. By then I was a widow, and I also enjoyed taking grandkids to places such as Wisconsin Dells, Green Bay or the movies, or whatever. A car didn’t have enough seat belts for that task. So there I was, trading in the car I loved, for this van, which seemed huge in comparison.

This van has taken me to places I never dreamed of going. There were countless trips to southern Wisconsin to visit my aunts, or go to weddings, and sadly, some funerals also. Trips out of state, for weddings, anniversaries or funerals. I have cousins in central Illinois, and when an occasion was happening down that way, the cousins from this area and I would get together and travel down in the van.

There were countless trips to Minnesota for weddings, plus another to Iowa. I took it to Upper Michigan a few times to visit friends there, and even some waterfalls, plus a side trip to Bayfield. In addition to taking grandkids to places, I also used it to haul countless pieces of furniture. It is amazing what fits in a van when the two rows of back seats are down. That saved delivery charges from stores.

The back of that van has been full of mission quilt boxes, those in the process and those that were complete and being delivered to Orphan Grain Train. It has also come in handy for hauling stuff to and from the LCFS Thrift Shop in Shawano.

One memorable trip was to Camp Luther for a Winter Weekend camp with four teens from my church. Those were some cold days and nights, but I was bundled up from head to foot while I was outside, and slept like a baby the two nights we spent there.

Then there were the many trips for the Sinners and Saints Kitchen Band from my church as we went on “tour.” We first formed when my church had its 125th anniversary, and then started traveling to rest homes, senior citizen centers, some other ladies meetings and even a church picnic.

One other lady also had a van, and both would be full of laughing women and multiple instruments, made of kitchen utensils of course. While we loved performing, and the audiences seemed to enjoy it, as we have gotten older, we are now retired.

On Monday, I finally found a used smaller SUV that fit my needs. I won’t be getting it until Jan. 5, but I must admit, I will miss this old Granny Van.

The best part of the new-to-me ride is it has a backup camera, which was a requirement for me; after all, my neck and upper body don’t turn as easily as they used to.