In my garage there is a pile of boxes. In these boxes are various car parts, which when assembled in the correct order will create a 1969 Triumph TR-6. I have a lot of boxes and a long ways to go. So, for now, I just have boxes and the gifts I have received from them.
Connections to others.
My father passed away 10 years ago. I can’t tell you that he was a big part of my early life, because he wasn’t. He lived with my mom and I, and he was a devoted husband, and a good father; he just wasn’t that close to me. I remember my dad telling me to clean my room. He had to tell me that a lot by the way.
When I was around eight years old, my dad went out and bought himself his dream car from childhood: a 1961 Triumph TR-3A. He brought it home and parked it in the garage with the intent of fixing it up over the summer. As fate would have it, a 1961 Triumph TR-3A also makes a great place to pile all sorts of junk on, and is easily forgotten. For eight years that car sat and was perpetually one summer away from being worked on.
Then I took a liking to it, and my dad helped me to get it running. I turned wrenches, he told me what I was doing and why. We finally had a reason to talk to each other, and we started to do things together. Over the next few years we fixed up that car, joined the local Triumph sports car club, and picked up the TR-6. In one summer my dad became my car buddy, and a good friend.
He still had a hang-up about my room though…
Years have passed and now I am married with a step-daughter. She is 16 years old, the authority on everything, and has got to do something about her bedroom. I became her step-father five years ago, and in all this time have never really been able to bond with her. We get along fine; we’ve just never had anything in common.
Last summer, my wife and I decided to buy her an old car.
We found a 1990 Mazda Miata that was in good shape, it just needed a little fixing up. As fate would have it, she got bit by the car bug too, and now we have something to do together. We have spent the last summer redoing its interior, working on the brakes, and fixing the cutch. She has become my car buddy now.
The pile of parts in the garage still sits in their boxes. I’ve been meaning to put them back together, but had to put that project on hold for this one. I think it’s a fair transaction and I am sure my dad would understand. If it wasn’t for those clunky old car parts I may have never really gotten to know my dad, or my step-daughter for that matter. I have come to believe that working on old cars can do a lot for a relationship, and for bringing me closer to people I love.
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