The Chicken Box, June 2005-June 2016

2016-06-30 15.23.22

Last shot: pre-tow truck, epi-grieving, post-last-mile-driven.

The Chicken Box departed this life atop a mountain in West Virginia on Sunday, June 26th. While her health deteriorated rapidly in her last year of life, it was the transmission which finally caused her demise. Her family takes pride in the fact it took a mountain to kill her, but silently moans her inability to make it 30 more miles to the vacation house. I mean seriously Chicken Box…you made it 268,000 miles and you couldn’t make it 30 more? But I digress.


Another year, another berry field.

She will be remembered for carrying her favorite human fowl: Ducky Wigglebottoms and Boo Boo Chicken, known for being both fowl and foul in her interiors. Her hobbies included storing old Happy Meal boxes full of half-eaten fry containers, catching coffee spills, and commuting to school and back. And to school and back. And to school and back. Again and again, and OH MY GOD WILL THIS SCHOOL COMMUTE EVER END? Her greatest contribution included 6 years of daily 100-mile commutes, when The Momma would compose verbal blog posts, arriving home with 1000 words memorized, ready to spill onto the page. The Chicken Box was an exemplary editor.


First School Commute, August 2008

She was a cherished member of the Gifts Galore team at school, hauling approximately 10,000 gifts over the course of 8 years of service to the cause of “kids purchasing holiday treasures for their friends and family for the low, low prices of $5 and under”. She was a Daisy, Brownie, and Girl Scout van, a proud member of the school’s Cross Country team, attended to the needs of 20 field trips, served as the limousine for the PTA President, could easily hold hundreds of gourmet cupcakes during Staff Appreciation Week, loved rescuing “found furniture”, volleyed countless meals for sick friends, and safely transported enough items for the Momma’s ridiculous volunteer activities to float a ship (a minivan can hold 415 foam fingers, and not a single more). It’s worth mentioning she also moved the entire family’s belongings during the “summer of the haunted apartment” when the neighbors discovered bed bugs, and The Momma tossed her coffee down the drain and packed EVERYTHING into the hatch in 10 minutes flat. Not her favorite job, but lauded as “the best of the best”, The Chicken Box completed approximately 35 round trips to Washington DC while packed to the roof with Christmas gifts, pool floaties, beach chairs, diapers, pack n’ plays, a Barbie Jeep, and a snowblower (long story). Her ability to haul knew no end. Until “the end”, when she was fully stuffed and could haul no more, despite the Momma’s insistence that if she were just turned off and on enough times on the shoulder-less highway, she would somehow magically come back to life. Oh Momma…you dreamer.

Dec '08 - Arlington Wreaths and Christmas in Indy 073

The first gifts of The Gifts War.

If The Chicken Box could speak, she would most likely repeat the poetry recited in her core:

  • Never, EVER throw things in a moving car!
  • She’s touching me!
  • OH NO. Oh no. Momma…I spilled it.
  • I have to go to the bathroom.
  • Good morning, may I have a large coffee with cream and sugar please?
  • Good afternoon, may I have a large coffee with cream and sugar please?
  • Good evening, may I have a large coffee with cream and sugar please?
  • I think I’m going to throw up.
  • I threw up.
  • Don’t make me pull this car over (repeat 5,000 times).
  • Did you bring snacks?
  • Ewww…what’s that smell?
  • Turn on Kidz Bop please. Turn on Kidz Bop please. Turn on Kidz Bop please. I’m not going to stop talking until you turn on Kidz Bop.


Oh dear Lord, no more Kidz Bop.

Grateful she’ll never have to listen to the melodies of Kidz Bop again, The Chicken Box is especially glad she won’t repeat the “year she contained a portable bathroom”. With girls potty training and a Momma on immunotherapy, she dutifully carried her family through arguably the most disgusting of experiences. But such is the call of the American Minivan: deep interiors can easily conceal camping bathrooms, complete with a handwashing station. The makers of SUVs don’t want you to know this (literally) dirty secret, but in her death, The Box asked this truth be revealed: YOU CAN POOP IN YOUR MINIVAN AND NO ONE WILL KNOW (hypothetically, of course).

Unfortunately, her interiors were impervious to annual detailing jobs, and some smells stick. This much we learned.


How many kids can fit into a Chicken Box?


All of them. Plus 2. Plus pets. And some groceries.

She is survived by Greg, who perpetually complained of her “minivan stank”, Sara and Kelly who caused most of the smells, and The Momma, who loved her with a devotion unnatural between a human and a minivan. What can I say? Not everything can be explained by the laws of nature; love is love. Gratefully she will not be scrapped for parts, as Momma is fairly certain she’s being held together by nothing more than stale trail mix, crushed Cheerios, and lost ponytails. There have been hush-hush mentions of her being sold to the Space Program. Since the decommissioning of the Space Shuttle, research efforts for “affordable alternatives” to “space vehicles” makes the Chicken Box an obvious test case. [Insert maudlin overlay music of David Bowie’s “Space Odyessey”. ODYSSEY…GET IT? I drove a Honda Odyssey?]


Kitten Transport Days. Sweet, sweet baby cats.

In her final moments, there were no famous speeches, no holding of hands with doves flying overhead. Her service was held at the edge of a depressing, gravel mechanic shop in Eastern West Virginia; just The Momma sitting in her favorite driver’s seat, silently weeping with her head on the wheel. Honestly, not unlike many, many afternoons after returning home with cranky children.


Kelly drove from Month 14-18, until she lost her license in a horrible Little Tikes car accident.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Bart Beach at Indy Honda for keeping her mechanics in 5-star shape through the particularly challenging “commuting years”. Our dreams of pitching a commercial to Honda at the 400,000 mile mark may be dashed, but we’ll always have the oil changes, Bart. So, so, SO many oil changes. Also, special thanks to Firestone (especially Elizabeth and Scott) who attended to The Chicken Box during her last year, aka her ICU year. We are equally sorry you may go out of business without our weekly visits, begging you to keep her running while fixing anything broken around the $75 mark. If you kept her alive with duct tape and spit, I don’t need to know.


Some fashion choices The Chicken Box agreed to take to her grave.

Memorial contributions may be made to “The Momma”. “Who suddenly has to buy a minivan.” “The week tuition is due.” “The year 2 kids are joining band.” “Entering the orthodontic phase.” “With kids in glasses.” “Baby need new shoes.”


P.S. In even sadder news, the Craft Tower was also laid to rest with The Chicken Box. We rented an SUV to get home, and it wasn’t big enough for The Craft Tower. Stupid, dumb-stupid SUV. To everyone who has said to me, “OH..UGH…I’d NEVER drive a minivan”: REALLY? Well your STUPID SUV won’t hold a magnificent craft tower, and it won’t even hold LUGGAGE which had to be strapped to the roof and driven through a rainstorm. Keep your sexy SUVs where you cannot pee in private. I’m buying another minivan. STAT.


In closing, my favorite of things, a Photo Essay, “Kids Sleeping In Minivans”:


A portrait of one baby sleeping.


Bar graphs are exhausting.


Toddler in need of a manicure praying.


Sleeping on craft tower with one-eye open (in case Kelly is committing Ding Dong thievery).


Sleeping in color.


Sleeping a la burrito.

2 responses to “The Chicken Box, June 2005-June 2016”

  1. Our sincerest condolences on the loss of Chicken Box. Godspeed over the rainbow bridge!

  2. An awesome tribute to the king of minivans. We’re going on our first roadtrip without ours this week and I’m scared…