CAR GUY

Some passions last a life time. The passions have different names; hobbies, side jobs, favorite pastime, recreation, relaxation, diversion, and amusement and so on.

The majority of folks have more than one. I have several; working out, writing – including music, and playing guitar are my biggies. But one of my passions started a long time ago, probably about the same time as my passion for sports.

I’m a car guy. Ever since I was a little kid I had a thing for cars. Like a lot of little boys, I was one of them that gawked and gave the thumbs up to the muscle cars. I couldn’t begin to count how many times I said “Cool Car!” as a kid.

I appreciate cars like other folks do fine art. In fact, I liken them to be about the same. I like to call nice cars “rolling art”.

My first car was a 1970 Mercury Cyclone. It had a 351 Cleveland with 11 to 1 compression pistons, headers, hi rise Edelbrock aluminum manifold with a Holly 750 Double Pumper carb on top. It also had 4-11 gears in the rear end which helped it lurch off the line and get to top speed asap.

Since that time I’ve had scads of cars, too many to even recall, but a few stand out along the way. One of the cars I had when the kids were little was a ’64 ‘Vette convertible. It was white with red interior. I’m a sucker for red and white or white on red sports cars… but I’m a car guy.

As much as I enjoy hobbies, I don’t idolize them like a lot of people do these days. I sold that ’64 just before the big run up in classic cars, but I still made a little money on it, which is part of enjoying the hobby.

I appreciate the finer things in life, but they have zero value compared to the things the majority of us value the most. My faith in God comes first. Like King David said, “All things come from Your hand”. That includes salvation.

Long before I was a parent I was a car guy, but being a parent means everything compared to a measly metal and fiberglass internal combustion vehicle.

Like a lot of people, I regret selling that ’64 Corvette. It would be worth a whole lot more now than when I sold it, but that’s not why I lament selling the old car.

One of my favorite pictures of the girls when they were young was in that ’64 ‘Vette. I cherish the picture because of them, not the car, it was just the cool setting.

This was almost twenty years ago. The little one is standing in the seat.

I’ve had my eye out for a car like that ’64 for more than the last ten years. One reason is because it’s a cool car, but the biggest reason is because I’ve wanted to recreate that moment from their childhood again now that they’re all adults.

This is one of those blessings and lessons that I don’t take for granted. The opportunity popped up to re-create that picture with a car that I got a deal on that will allow me to re-sell it and make a few bucks if I go that route again.

I made them pose exactly like when they were little.

I love that car because I’m a car guy. The best part about those cars are my girls. Because first and foremost I’m a dad guy…

BEEN THERE DONE THAT

It’s a peculiar how the dynamics between parents and children change as God and time turn them into grown-ups. Of course those of us on the parent side of things have the advantage of having been there, done that. We remember the lack of wisdom from early adulthood. But everyone forgets some things.

I remember my dad and oldest brother had their strong opinions of what my career path should be. The problem was that I too had a strong opinion. I went another way. They were none too happy at the time. They knew they were smarter than I was, but that’s the gift of free will.

Back at my moment of decision, part of me, a big part, wanted to write. They told me I had a bit of a knack for it. You like hearing that kind of stuff when you’re a kid. Especially when you usually heard the opposite.

On occasion I’ll get a picture from my mom of something I’ve written, drawn, or painted from when I was a kid. Things I’d forgotten all about. Some of them are good, so good I have to double check to make sure it was my work.

It’s tough being a kid and having the gift, and responsibility that feels like a mountain, to choose your path in this life. Especially when you don’t have the time kicking up dust on this ball to have the wisdom to make the best choice.

It’s easier for some kids. Our middle daughter knew since childhood she wanted to be a nurse like her mom. She is. And she’ll be an NP by the end of August. The oldest listened to me and went the business direction. After a couple of semesters she changed her mind and went the medical route too. She’s an NP now.

The youngest is not following suit. She’s on a different path, even though part of her is drawn to the medical field like her mom and sisters. She’s got enough credits now, as a Junior, to graduate honors college, with honors, and with a degree in creative writing. She’s going to hang in to get her minor in sustainability.

While I don’t make a living writing words, it is a hobby. I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing songs. I have five of them being produced now. The desire to create is knitted into our DNA by God. And it doesn’t have to be seen or heard by the masses to find gratification from the process.

My lyrics are like nursery rhymes. My youngest’s lyrics have matured into contemporary literature. She’s forgotten her early days.

I was searching through old posts yesterday knowing I have limited time to write with all that I’m endeavoring these days. I stumbled upon one from May of 2011. Here is what I found within that post;

the poem


This is the picture of the poem I took with my phone and sent to my daughter. Just the picture, no words. She texted me back twenty minutes later;

“Did you write that?” It’s great!!!”

I texted her back; “No. You did. In 7th grade.”

I’d shared her poem in a post back when she was in Junior High School. I’d forgotten all about it just like her.

She’ll make her way. She won’t follow precisely the path I think she should, or anybody else for that matter. None of us do or have. As long as she belongs to God I know He’ll guide her to His path for her life.

I know, because I’ve been there, done that.

IT’S LIKE MAGIC

It’s fascinating to see imperfect products and people come together to create something beautiful and inspiring. It’s like magic. You take a bunch of ugly things and sprinkle them all together, stir the pot, and voila, you get beauty. But it’s never that simple…

It’s no secret that part of what I do is build. Design first, then build. It’s messy from inception. From dust, stickers, cactus, and watching out for rattle snakes to determine the best floorpan and placement, to the smear of the pencil lead on the preliminary sketch.

The process seems more civilized and clean once the drawings are put onto a computer, but that’s an illusion. Since the person sitting in front of a computer doing the drawings isn’t perfect, the plans follow suit. There are always flaws to fix, without exception.

During the all out battle to make the structure plumb, level, and square, there is danger and noise and physical fatigue. While there aren’t any tears in the process, there are always blood and sweat.

The noise and dust of excavators to concrete, lumber, trusses, cranes, and all sorts of delivery trucks is constant. Keeping people alive in the fight for safety against gravity is also constant.

A few years back a painter either removed, or at minimum knew a safety rail wasn’t in place in front of an elevator shaft and didn’t notify us, which is protocol and part of the safety program that he signed. He walked backward into the shaft… A blood test showed that he was on drugs at the time. We got sued anyway… and he’s fine…

The end product isn’t indicative of the battle to make it look like it does. It’s almost like magic.

Finished now in Silverleaf
Close up during the battle of a process

The process of building brings me to the place of pondering how God uses the lives of broken people, and we are all broken people, to accomplish His perfect will and purpose. It’s like magic. It is the supernatural acts of broken lives and things put together in an impossible way to show His sovereignty, grace, and love.

We know we’re not perfect. And yet we know too that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” It’s like magic to the ones that don’t know Him. To us that do; we know it’s a miracle. And it happens every day.

STILL THE SAME

The Easter egg hunt is different now, but it’s still the same in a lot of ways. Back in the old days the eggs were real. I didn’t necessarily like eating the hardboiled eggs, but my siblings and I were up for the thrill of the hunt.

I loaded coins, jelly beans, and gummy bears into the plastic eggs this morning then placed them strategically around the backyard. Truth and tradition are passed down and then we do our part in the process. It’s different now, but it’s still the same.

The two grandsons got new trucks to push around, which they do naturally and usually at warp speed. We used to have flimsy Easter baskets to haul the painted by hand eggs in. The boys use their dump trucks. It’s different now, but it’s still the same.

Our modern day Easter Basket

The story of Easter is told at home and at church. Kids learn but don’t grasp till they’re a little older. I’m not sure any of us grasp the depth of the Supreme sacrifice of the Son and the Father. The limited view and wisdom we have from our fallen flesh gives us just a glimpse of the grace we have been granted.

May we ponder the gift of eternal life granted to us due to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ every day of the year and not just this one. I’m thankful that although many things change, the Truth of the love and sacrifice for all who choose to believe will never change.

Where and how we celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior may be different, but the Truth is still the same.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

ORANGE TREES

I appreciate the orange trees that live in my backyard. They have many purposes, the obvious one is the fruit that they both yield twice a year. But they also provide shade for the backyard as well as block traffic noise from a busy 56st that sits on the other side of my next door neighbor’s house.

If a person enjoys the fragrance and isn’t allergic to the pollen, come Spring and Fall, when the orange blossoms sprout, it’s an orchestra for your sense of smell. It’s worth the sneezes even if you are allergic.

And then of course there’s nothing quite like pulling a ripe orange from tree, peeling it, and enjoying a slice that is a slice of heaven this side of it. Or squeeze or juice them for a drink works pretty good too.

Those trees aren’t new. They’ve lived in my backyard for going on fifteen years. I planted them myself. I watered, fertilized, braced, and cared for those trees while I was building our house. They started as not much more than twigs.

My orange tree

And while I appreciate all that those orange trees provide, there’s not a season that has gone by that I don’t think about their downfalls. When I bought those trees I paid extra to make sure I got seedless navels. But after planting, watering, and caring for those trees, when they finally did yield the hoped for treasures, they had seeds… I didn’t get what I was sold or promised.

A fella with a cynical world view that has been self employed for going on thirty years can tend to jump to conclusions and fly off the handle. Then I get mad…

I had to make a decision after a year or two after I planted the orange trees. Should I dig ’em up and take ’em back, or live with what I had and had nurtured. You already know the end of the story.

I think about myself, and all of us really; we all tend to be a bit like those orange trees. There was a time when we were young and full of promise. We sold the best version of ourselves. We didn’t show the people that are still in our lives the warts or the seeds. We hid the side of us that would have caused the prospective buyers to put us back on the shelf.

Some folks do put others back on the shelf… and they miss the beauty of caring for the less than perfect that describe all of us. I receive grace from God and loved ones… and try to pass it on… I think of that when I see or think about my old orange trees. Seeds and all, they belong to me.