‘The Ford’ pinch hits in style for my ‘ShipsiBurban’

by Denise Dykstra

I couldn’t make the blaring music stop, but I handled it very well. I screamed, shut off the engine. It still wouldn’t stop, so I opened the door and stuck my head out – still buckled – and tried not to cheer when the music thankfully stopped.

I pulled myself back into the vehicle, trying to avoid eye contact with all of the other parents in the pickup spot at school.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.
Last week, we had to drop off the ShipsiBurban for a “tune-up.”

You should know something about me before we go further along in this story. I name my vehicles. I straight up have had a name for them all, and I refer to them only as what they are named. This makes sense when I am talking about them with family, this does not make sense when I need to stop in and get, say, a windshield wiper.

“I need a wiper for that ShipsiBurban out there,” I’ll explain to the store clerk. Not helpful for others who need vehicle information.

ShipsiBurban is named such because we bought this Suburban three years ago from a family of all girls who lived in Shipshewana, Ind. The first week I had it, I took the younger boys fishing and snapped a photo of the back of the suburban filled will buckets, poles and bait.

“My guess is you never used this Suburban for fishing,” I texted the previous owners. I was glad I did not see the horror on their face and instead got a laughing emoji back.

Anyhow, back to the story.

I say “tune-up” with emphasis because I wasn’t sure exactly what needed to be tuned up by our mechanic. I did know that ShispiBurban had been feeling kind of rough that day when I had run errands. We call Luke our mechanic because we think so highly of him, and we refer to him as though he belongs to our community of people we think of as family.

Our mechanic was just going to have ShipsiBurban for an afternoon, but when he drove it after the tune-up to make sure everything was okay, he realized we needed a new u-joint, so it needed to stay a bit longer.

And so I found myself driving The Ford.

The Ford is named The Ford because it is, brace yourself — a Ford. A Ford Escape, to be exact. Our daughter-in-law purchased it back in high school and she had driven it for so long that it seemed to be a part of her. Our son had upgraded their vehicle and they were going to sell this little red one. And we bought it.

Now, you need to know that for all the time I have known my husband, he has mocked Ford vehicles. So it should come as no shock that we have never owned one. But we had recently driven Super Suburban, our well loved and beyond well worn Suburban, to the junk yard where we left her. With two teenage boys, we thought it would be smart to have an extra vehicle and that is how we found ourselves with this Ford.

I had sat in it once when my daughter-in-law drove me to buy a bike … remember that bike story I shared with you? … and when we dropped ShipsiBurban off to our mechanic.

And suddenly, I was driving it for the next few days. A Ford is quite different then a Chevy.

I drove our youngest to school in the morning, and had to remember to turn on the lights, because the lights don’t just come on. And the windshield wipers were on the wrong side of the steering column. Also, I have to shift into gear with a shifter in the middle console, not on the column. It was all so weird. It just feels weird to drive a vehicle that you don’t know. And this was a lot to ask out of me before a cup of coffee was even in my system.

Abe was messing with the radio on the long, half mile drive to school. “This has a great system, Mom. You should hook up your phone so you can listen to your music.”

I was too tired, and the drive was too short to care, so I gave some sleepy “mmhmm.” But later that afternoon, I was sitting in the school parking lot waiting for my nephews to get out of elementary school, and I wondered how well the Bluetooth did work. I had been listening to an audio book, and it would be fun to have it in surround sound. I was sure I could figure this out.

Later, much later, Abe told me it is rather tricky to set up the Bluetooth the first time.

I kept thinking that now I would be connected to The Ford’s Bluetooth, but it didn’t seem to be connecting at all. I turned the sound up to see if it had been turned all the way down. I changed my phone to Spotify and made sure the sound was up on my phone too. Nothing.

Until it suddenly connected.

It wasn’t like I was pressing connect at the moment. It was that all of a sudden the Bluetooth in the car and my phone went “Yes! Let’s connect!”

And did they ever.

The sound was so deafening. I had all the volumes — all the way up. It startled me so greatly that I would have jumped in shock and hit the windshield, had I not been buckled in.

I couldn’t make the blaring music stop, but I handled it very well. I screamed, shut off the engine. It still wouldn’t stop, so I opened the door and stuck my head out – still buckled – and tried not to cheer when the music thankfully stopped. I pulled myself back into the vehicle, trying to avoid eye contact with all the other parents in the pick up spot at school.

I decided I didn’t need to have Bluetooth set up after all.

The next morning, I needed to drive my nephews to school. My oldest nephew was asking me how it was going in The Ford – his family is a Ford family – and I was telling him I was trying to get used to it. I pulled up to the doors of the school and let them out, wishing them a good day. I crawled through the parking lot as I do, watching for children. I stopped at the stop sign, careful to look both ways. I set out to turn left…..

And squealed my tires all the way out of the school.

I don’t mean “squeal.” I mean “sqqqqqquuuuuuueeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllllll” all the way around the corner.

I would not doubt it at all that the red Ford Escape is pictured on a wall at the elementary office to alert all school employees to look out for this new suspicious vehicle that has blared Taylor Swift at an alarming loudness, as well as, driving dangerously out of the school parking lot.

It was humbling.

That night, I needed to check on our oldest son and his wife’s plants and fish as they were out of town. Abe and I had no other vehicle than The Ford. He was able to easily connect his phone to the vehicle’s Bluetooth, he reminded me about the lights I needed to use, and we took the 45-minute, one-way trip. The Ford did just fine. It drove smoothly. It took us right to the restaurant we ate at with no squealing tires incidents. It behaved well. It really stepped up when we needed it.

That’s not to say that I didn’t stop the next afternoon, and pick up my very large ShipsiBurban, and tell her all the ways I missed her as I drove her around.

But for those few days, my family cringed every time I got into The Ford, surely wondering what sort of situations I would find myself in while driving that vehicle.

I am curious, do you name your vehicles? Can you tell me a story about it?


  • Around about 20 years ago we bought a Saturn from the Grand Rapids Dominican Sister; ( of which my sister Marge has been a member for over 60 years). I named it, “Sister Mary Saturn”.

  • I had a car in college that lost the “C” from the nameplate, so, of course, it was known as the Merury (Mer’ Yurie). I can’t imagine anyone topping Burrell’s Sister Mary Saturn.
    I love my Ford Escape. I’ve never turned the lights on or off, except for the day I bought it. The light switch has a setting that puts the light on when the car is on, and turns them off when the car is off. The owner’s manual probably tells you if your Escape would do the same. I have no clue about the sound. I am strongly biased to American owned auto companies, especially if the vehicle was manufactured in the US.

    • Basura,

      I’ll look for that next time I drive it. So far ShipsiBurban is doing great so I have not driven The Ford in a week. The Sister Mary Saturn is, indeed, a difficult to top name!

      Thanks for reading!

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