Last month marked the official demise of my 1993 Ford Aerostar van after 15 years of service to the Henley family. While a significant short in its power supply brought the curtain down on the van’s existence, it was the diagnosis of a cracked head months earlier that had raised concerns about the Aerostar’s long-term future as a reliable vehicle.
After receiving the bad news regarding our van’s engine, I sat down and pounded out a column lamenting the prognosis. It wasn’t long after that piece of prose appeared in the Courier-Post that I received an e-mail from Allen Ballard, whom I have known since South Side Christian Church stood near the intersection of Fulton Avenue and Missouri 79.
Allen, who also happens to have an Aerostar, asked if I would be willing to part with one of my van’s hubcaps before we parted with it. It seems that Allen’s van came with only three wheel covers when he bought it used some years ago.
Apparently being a hubcap short was a source of mild consternation for Allen, who noted recently on Facebook that “it just ain’t cool to drive around with three hubcaps.”
Allen did have some fun with having only three caps on his Aerostar, telling me that he had even started a “Three Hubcap Club.”
While I recognized that Allen’s hubcap request was made with his tongue firmly planted in a cheek, I didn’t forget it. Consequently, when our Aerostar finally stopped starting I made a point of calling Allen. I advised Allen that he was welcome to one or all of our van’s hubcaps, since you never can tell when having a spare will come in handy.
I advised Allen that there could also be some other items in our van that he might want for his ’94 Aerostar, which fortunately for the Ballard family is still going strong at 206,000 miles. Allen wasted little time in taking advantage of my parting-with-parts offer. When I got home from work that day Allen and his wife, Connie, and son, Ken, were behind the Henley house taking items they could put to use on their van from our Aerostar. In addition to hubcaps, Allen also took home some spare wipers, oil, floor mats, an oil cap and a mass air flow sensor.
Nancy, my wife, and I were happy to share with the Ballards anything and everything they could possibly salvage off our now-dead van. After all, it was all destined for the junk yard any way.
Much to our surprise, Allen creatively acknowledged our van’s donations on Facebook with a quotation found in the “Book of Cars,” Chevy edition, chapter 15, verse 13: “Greater love hath no minivan than this, that a van lay down his parts for another.”
My main concern now is that the founder of the “Three Hubcap Club” will be forced out of the group because his minivan finally features four hubcaps.
But knowing Allen, I’m confident he will find a way to maintain his membership in the club, even if it means popping a hubcap off of his wife’s car, or finding another suitable quotation in the “Book of Cars.”