Clair McFarland: Suddenly, Minivans Are Not Lame

Clair McFarland writes: "The Husband scrunched his nose when he saw it. He’s always avoided minivans. Right now we’ve got a GMC Yukon for trips with all six of us. A Yukon is more manly than a minivan, The Husband has explained, because it’s a truck with a few back seats."

Clair McFarland

June 30, 20245 min read

Clair baseball 6 30 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Husband fell in love with a minivan about the same time I started liking baseball.

To me, that sport was the most boring occupation that ever constrained a person to eight weeks of nacho dinners. But I had three boys in Little League this year, so it was my duty to sign up for scorekeeping.

“Wow, did they not have anyone else who could do it?” asked my editor, when I explained why I’d be out of pocket for three hours every day. He wasn’t complaining about the time: he was shocked that anyone would let me near a scoreboard.

But oh, they did. And I learned the following:

There’s lots of drama in the crow’s nest so you have to tune that out;

Fielder’s choice drives a person’s batting average down;

Once you upset someone’s granny, you’re the eternal target of her blistering stare;

If you play Genesis on the loudspeaker, the gen Z umpire will have an unusual reaction to the real music and bust into a dance

This was the coldest Little League season of all my mothering years. The wind whipped through the two open windows of the opposing crow’s nest views and shot between my ribs and the reluctant bones of my quivering ankles. My muscles clenched my skeleton. My skeleton quaked.

So when The Husband announced we’d be heading to Cincinnati, then St. Louis for a pair of baseball games, my first thought was “Ahhh yes. 100-degree heat.”

Also, not trying to be an ingrate or anything, but I planned to bring a book to both baseball games so I could cuddle down in my little folding chair with a pricey iced tea and read the night away.

That’s not what happened.

But first, meet the minivan.

We took a real airplane from Denver to Indianapolis, then we rented a minivan.

The Husband scrunched his nose when he saw it. He’s always avoided minivans. Right now we’ve got a Honda Accord – and a GMC Yukon for trips with all six of us. A Yukon is more manly than a minivan, The Husband has explained, because it’s a truck with a few back seats.

A minivan is a car with a few extra back seats, which is not as cool. See?

We slid into that minivan and all I heard were heaven sounds. The machine was quiet. It ran smoothly. When we plunked our luggage into the back compartment it sank down into a deep dark well. So we piled on more luggage.

“Glory, babe!” I beamed. “Look at this thing! You could fit a horse back here.”

The Husband nodded. He started the drive to Cincinnati. (Air tickets were cheaper to Indianapolis for some reason. I don’t know enough about either city to insert a clever joke here.)

The low altitude must have been kicking in, because I kept sniffing the fresh leather and smiling at the boys as they controlled their independent air conditioning way, way in the back.

“I could get used to this,” I mused.

The Husband drove forward, into a mysterious part of the world that is mostly jungle. Why is everything out there so green? I couldn’t take in the colors fast enough.

In that moment, I felt that the Wyoming I left behind must be a dull sepia. But since arriving back home this past Tuesday, I’ve adjusted to Wyoming’s tawny, craggy colors and spaces once again. And I’ve realized that Wyoming is like a good peanut butter: its appeal is about the texture, not the color.

Anyway, we went to the Cincinnati Reds v. Boston Red Sox game.

I brought a book, but I didn’t read it. Instead, I watched the ump. I knew all his little tells. The slow squat ascent when the pitcher throws a ball. The hard right-hand jut when there’s a strike. The full-count wobble.

I consulted neither husband nor scoreboard. I explained to my big, sweet twin about the sacrifice bunt.

“See, he expected to sacrifice himself to advance the other runners. But the catcher made an error, so he made it to first base anyway,” I said.

Big-Sweet looked at me like I’d grown two extra heads. Where was his real mother? He must have wondered. He smashed an unshelled peanut into his mouth.

“And that’s why, you always run,” I chirped. “Even if you think you’ll get thrown out.”

Big-Sweet nodded.

I attribute my enjoyment of this boring sport to a few things. One – keeping score at Little League for eight weeks taught me the rules and some appreciation. And two – it also gave me the attention span and focus to watch every tiny move on that diamond.

The Red Sox lost. The boys wanted to blame the umps, but I wouldn’t let them.

“Didja have fun?” asked The Husband casually, expecting me to say I merely tolerated all this madness.

“Yeah it was a real nail-biter,” I answered. “But I think we’d have won it if it weren’t for that error at home.”

The Husband did a double take. “Did you just – did you just call the Red Sox ‘We’?”

“Man,” I yammered. “Sure didn’t expect to see three home runs in the first couple innings either.”

The Husband grabbed my jaw with both hands, lifted me off the ground head first, pressed my forehead to his own and bellowed, “We’re trading the Yukon for a minivan!”

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter