Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 02.10.11
Stanstead, Quebec


A "Dear Van" letter

Dear Chevy Venture,

This is probably the hardest letter I've ever had to write to a motor vehicle. We've been together now for seven years and 230,000 kilometres, through good towns and bad. That's why what I'm about to write is so extremely difficult, almost as difficult as getting the spare tire to descend from your undercarriage. Difficult, but not impossible... unlike the spare.

I still remember the day we brought you home, Chevy. You were so adorable with your cute little cup holders and your teeny-tiny mileage. You had your whole warranty ahead of you, and it seemed like anything was possible.

Remember the promises we made -- that I'd conduct regular maintenance and strictly enforce a No Food policy, while you would provide the comfort and reliability of North American automotive engineering?

What happened to us, Chevy? How did we end up down this road? No, not "Google Maps." Something else...

We made some pretty amazing memories, didn't we, Chevy? The camping trips, the weekend outings to Good Times Roll and Pastry Emporium, the secret Duran Duran CD stashed in the glove compartment for those special times when it was just the two of us.

You were my first, Chevy -- my first new vehicle. Before you, I was a used man. But with you, I felt such confidence behind the wheel. It was so important to me to prove myself worthy of your gentle ride and reasonable gas mileage. You drove me to be a better person... and to the occasional business meeting. I'll never forget that.

But somewhere along the way, we got lost. In many ways, I blame myself. I'd neglect a scheduled oil change here, ignore a squeak or a rattle there. I'd go for months at a time without checking your fluids, and I can't remember the last time I gave you a good inspection. We had some amazing inspections, didn't we? But now, I don't know, getting under your hood just seems so dirty.

But you're not blameless in this, Chevy. You let yourself go.

They were little things at first -- a busted cup holder, the broken latch on the glove compartment. Then the spare tire got stuck, the passenger door became jammed, then the other door, the back wiper went kaput twice. Next thing you know, the driver window wouldn't roll down.

And your body! You used to have such a beautiful body, and now look at you. What happened? Are you tired? Well, obviously yes, but they're certainly not the attractive tires I used to know.

And, honestly, Chevy, it's about the smell...

We've tried to get you fixed. You've seen one mechanic after another. They do what they can, but none of them treat you as anything more than a licence number. I could find another mechanic, I suppose, but sometimes I wonder if it's worth the labour. Besides, you can't turn back time or an odometer.

I do try, Chevy. I try to think about happier times, the magic and excitement when everything was new and you still had all your hubcaps. But, like your interior upholstery, the memories are fading. I can't even remember what your engine used to sound like.

What it comes down to, Chevy, is this: I want to see other vehicles.

It's not like I have another vehicle in mind. Sure, I've looked at advertisements, maybe lingered in front of the car lots longer than I should. I've thought about it, thought about it plenty -- some hot model with a small down payment and irresistible financing. But we've gone too far together for me to scrap you just like that.

You've still got some good years ahead of you, Chevy. Get out there, put yourself back on the market. I'm sure there's some kid somewhere with a mechanical knack who could tinker with your engine in a way I never could.

I'm sorry if this hurts you, Chevy, and I wouldn't blame you if you spontaneously deployed your airbags on me. But I'm putting the brakes on our relationship. It's out of gas.


Your Owner

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at