Tuesday, April 3, 2007
So, the final tally is in, and Kaleigh is the only one in the house who has escaped antibiotics. We are all home for the day, wrapped in sleeping bags, watching the Jetsons. All in all, sick days aren;t too bad!
Having most of the crew home on a lazy rainy morning has me dreaming about the summer. And what would our summer be without Old Blue. I love this old bus almost as a member of the family.
Almost 3 years ago, I was driving through town dropping one of the kids off at a friend's house, when I saw this giant blue and chrome beast sitting on the side of the road. I literally stopped the van, catching my breath. It was truly love at first sight. After drooling over it for a minute or two, I went on about my day. But that night, I remembered it, and was telling Fitz about it. About this amazing old bus I had seen, that looked like Willy Nelson should be touring the country on it. Of course he had to see it, so we took a ride over to where it had been parked. Unfortunately, it was no longer there, and we laughed about how I must have imagined it.
Over a month later, Fitz was down at the Inn getting ready to play. An old friend stopped by with a neighbor, Bill, who Fitz had never met. They got to talking, and somehow came around to summer plans. Our friend mentioned that we should think about getting an RV someday, how it would be perfect with all the kids. Fitz laughed and told him that we had never even considered it, although "Denise saw some old bus on the side of the road last month that she fell in love with." Bill said "Maybe that was mine..." Fitz laughed and said it couldn't have been, that I had told him this was some old retro chrome beast. The guy said "then it definitely was mine." After much laughing about coincindences, Fitz was talked into going over to look at the bus at Bill's house later on.
I had been down on the Cape at the time with all the kids. While Fitz was looking at the bus, Bill asked if he wanted to come back with the family to take it for a ride. Fitz thanked him, but said that the family was down on the Cape, and that he would be joining us the next day. Bill, who Fitz had met just that night, tossed Fitz the keys, and said "Why don't you surprise them all."
Surprise doesn't come close to describing what I felt that day hearing that old diesel engine rumbling up my parents road. If it had been love at first sight for me, the second sight nearly bowled me over. I honestly can't explain what I felt, or how I still feel about an inanimate object. At the time it seemed completely irrational, but after 3 years, I am beginning to understand my feelings.
After spending a weekend on the bus, constantly reminding all kids that we were "just borrowing it", Fitz dorve the bus back to Bill's house. I thought that would be the end of it. But an hour later, Fitz was back at our house with the bus. It turned out that Bill and his wife had been trying to sell it for a while now, and really just wanted a family in it that would love it and appreciate it. Fitz tried again and again to explain we were in no position to buy something like this bus, but Bill insisted he could make it work. He told Fitz that we could just pay him along the way, when we could and to not worry about it. Fitz knew he couldn't turn this offer down, and with that, Old Blue became part of the family.
Since then, we have spent a good portion of every summer on that old bus. We live on it when we are working up at camp in New Hampshire, we take it down to the Cape to have some extra sleeping room when the whole family is down. We take it for day trips down random rural roads to just park and let the kids run wild. We spent 2 glorious weeks pulling the kids out of school and driving down south to the Outer Banks one Spring. Drove that bus right onto a ferry and over to the little Island of Ocracoke. This bus gives us memories that I know the kids will be sharing with their grandkids many, many years from now.
But more than those trips, more than those memories, this old bus makes us such a tight unit of a family. After spending the whole year running kids in 7 different directions, from school, to soccer, to tae kwon do, to Irish step, to fencing, to track, etc.... We get on that bus and move as a unit. From late June to September, we are Team Fitz. All 9 of us, moving as one. I live for these summers. I live for this bus.