My man and his minivan

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Opinion column: Holly Tabor

By Holly Tabor

Slice of Life by Holly Tabor

Keyless entry remote in hand, my husband, lover of cars and family, toter of coolers, boxes and all things heavy, stepped onto our front porch and pushed the button. In the driveway, the back passenger side door of our Honda Odyssey smoothly slid open.

I didn’t see it, but I’d be willing to guess the corners of his lips curled up, if only slightly, at the sight and sound of this modern marvel of automotive technology.

My husband loves his power sliding doors.

Aside from being just plain neat, they would be practical, he said when he revved up his argument for a new vehicle several months ago. Particularly with our 9-month-old daughter in tow, and particularly on trips when we plan to be away from the house longer than an hour or two. Coolers would slide easily onto the floor or seat, along with the car seat, diaper bag, suitcases when necessary, the camera and a few toys for the road.

And he was right. When we pack as if we’ll be gone for a week, even if we’ll only be gone for a few hours, the power sliding doors — along with the ability for me to move from the front seat to the back without first having to exit the vehicle — accommodate us.

It’s a perk, But there’s more to driving a minivan than sliding doors. As much as anything, my husband knows this. And he must have known this when he decided to trade in our SUV.

This past weekend — his first Father’s Day weekend — I watched as he drove us first to visit with my family on Saturday, and then with his family on Sunday, to pay homage to each of our respective dads. Cruise control set, arm rests down on the captain's chairs, air conditioning vents blowing in the front and back — with separate controls — he in the driver’s seat, I beside him, our daughter nestled in behind us, it fit. Who he is. Who he has become.

The minivan was more than a mode of packing half the contents of our house from one place to the next. It was — is — a feeling. And I couldn’t help but think, he looks comfortable.

My husband, who has driven everything from Camaros to motorcycles to Jeeps to supercharged Buicks, who reads Car & Driver, Road & Track and any other automotive magazine he can find, who can identify the make, model, year and special features of just about any car at a speed of 70 miles an hour on the interstate, now purposefully, proudly drives a minivan, complete with car seat and stroller in back.

He doesn’t get to drive it all that much. More often than not, I’m dropping off or picking up our daughter at day care, so usually I drive the van. And I like it, even more than I thought I would. But when he does get to drive it, it’s right.

Some people would rather walk 10 miles than be seen driving a minivan. Not me. Not him.

Though I never have been one to believe what a person drives defines them, I do believe the choices one makes do say something. My husband has at times been rugged, sporty, even a little rebellious, as proclaimed by his mode of transportation. And he does love cars.

The minivan simply means he’s found a love of something else — fatherhood. And power sliding doors.

Holly Tabor is features editor of The News-Enterprise. She can be reached at (270) 505-1745 or at htabor@thenewsenterprise.com.