Burning mini-van was an idea that Elke approached me about this past summer. "Would you be interested in hosting an event I've been thinking about for a while?", was her question. After explaining the idea; build a van, invite people to throw something into it that they want to let go of, then burn it to the ground, move on. I was intrigued. Exploring the transformative, cleansing properties of fire in a community space. Allowing people to get rid of some festering piece of the past they've been carrying too long. Doing it all in a safe place and sharing a positive thought together as we venture forth into the new day, a little less weighed down by the guilt, angst, anger, and sadness of whatever it is that we've been carrying too long. The wooden minivan transporting you to a higher plain of emotional well being. The idea was cool and quirky and something Missoulians would love.
Elke is about five foot four, with long blonde hair and a wry smile. Being present in the same space she is, is like wrangling a fast moving train to the ground with your bare hands. Its really best to sit back, feed off the momentum, and head in a direction you might not have known existed. She is well spoken, open, and publishes a magazine called "Mamalode". Loosely defined it is a magazine for moms about the trials, adventures, challenges and rewards they deal with as mothers raising families in the twenty-first century. The future redefines the past, and in a world that is moving fast the ground shifts quickly. Foundations laid twenty years ago cannot be taken for granted today. No one knows this like mothers and fathers. Raising children is challenging. In "Mamalode" women, and to some degree men, have a forum to explore their thoughts and feelings about what they are facing as parents. Elke is passionate about her work and it is reflected in her readership. She, along with a core group of staff, have built quite a following. There is a resonant harmony between this magazine and its' readers. In short, a group that any car guy would be a fool to not want to be a part of. In contrast to the magazine the car business has not been associated with a lot of good qualities in the past. In the past car dealerships have been places with lots of shady corners and secret rooms, where information is locked away and open dialogue isn't welcome. To date the reflection of the average customer on the average car dealership has not been too rosy. This is changing slowly. My feeling, that hosting an event that supports people in the community, outside of buying a car, in order to show them that we are more than a business with their hand out is a direction that I want to head in. My business is a safe place to come to. Maybe burning a van could help show people we're challenging the conventions of the car business.
This past January 30th, we did a little something I hope will turn into a much larger deal as the years wear on. Buring Mini Van was successful by my measure. I want to take the time to personally thank the staff and interns from "Mamalode" that helped make this event possible. Also, thank you to Headwaters Dance Company and Amy Ragsdale for their performance with backs turned on a twenty five foot tall fire. I am humbled by the creative energy and generousity of the group that made this happend. I hope to see you next year when you bring something to let go of.