June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:42 PM
"I had just stuck my fork in another piece of turkey when I heard the car was rolling down the hill. The worst possibility flashed through my mind -- I hoped it wouldn't end up in the mausoleum.I had spent part of our family's Thanksgiving holiday in the mausoleum, located far below the dead-end road where my sister's new house is located. I had discovered the facility when I went for a walk before dinner was served. At the end of the dead-end was a light barricade that wouldn't stop a tricycle, then a long, steep, grassy hill. From the bottom of the hill to the mausoleum it was just a short walk past a number of grave markers.The deserted mausoleum was open and featured soaring ceilings, varied-colored glass the sun was shining through, and stacks of large drawers filled with dead people. There were also plentiful tiny drawers, presumably for really small dead people or possibly for jars of ashes. Standing there alone among all the dead I was struck by how similar the atmosphere was to the festive gathering of Lutherans I had left only minutes before.After a short time I climbed the hill and returned to the house, where dinner was about to be served. One of the kids arrived late, and had parked our pride and joy, our new 1983 Suburu, the only undented, unblemished car we had ever owned, across the street on a downhill slope. We sat down and gave thanks and dug in to the bountiful spread.Minutes later came a knock on the door. An exhausted neighbor explained that a car had started rolling down the hill. He had given chase, but couldn't catch it. What kind of car was it? A Suburu, of course.The more excitable in-laws who weren't Lutherans dashed out the door, while those of us raised in the church realized we had a meal to finish. As I munched on some dressing I wondered if the car could make it all the way to the mausoleum. Perhaps I could leave it there if I bought a marker: Suburu 1983-2000. R.I.P.Eventually curiosity got the best of me and I walked outside to see what damage had been done. Far down the street was a small mob of people amid some stout decorative trees situated only a few feet from an expensive house. The Suburu had been rolling toward the cliff above the cemetery, but somehow detoured to the left, crossed a lawn and crashed into two trees. As other people pushed from behind my nephew drove the car up the hill. Finally, I thought, we have a situation where we can use the 4-wheel drive.Upon inspection, the driver's door was smashed by one tree and the right rear corner was demolished by another tree. But as Lutherans, we counted our blessings. Thank God it didn't hit someone. Thank God it didn't hit another car. Thank God it didn't hit that house. Thank God it didn't hit the mausoleum.We finished our Thanksgiving dinner and went home with a badly dented car, one that fits in with our island lifestyle. It was a fine car while it lasted, and we got a Thanksgiving memory that will last remain after the car is gone. "