Hot Rod Palooza


Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it is a vessel of perfection. (From my Dr. Wayne Dyer calendar.)

I stumbled upon a story while working on another story. Me and Russell Crow. We live dangerous lives.

I was talking to this wonderful man, Max. I wanted Max to be my grandpa. Max was the head of Custodial Services in the 80s and I was working on my high school in the 80s for a future edition of the local paper. I learned somewhere along the way that if you want someone to be comfortable, get them talking about what they love. So when Max walked into the local Starbucks for our interview in his hot rod jacket, we started talking about his jacket which lead to a discussion about his newly built hot rod.

Turns out Max’s wife had died a few years earlier leaving a gaping hole in his world. She was a strong matriarch, the center of a large family. To heal his grief, Max toyed with a long time passion: building a hot rod. He enlisted his son-in-law and his grandson. His son-in-law loved old cars. His grandson needed a senior project. Game on.

Now I’m not a big car lover or anything and really don’t get this whole social scene, but this story touched my heart. I get misty just thinking about it. It’s more than a story about building cars. It’s a story about three generations of men, all dealing with their part of the journey, sharing time and a bonding that is often missed in our nuclear family era.

They started building this car from nothing but a frame. Getting the frame involved grandpa and grandson going on a 14 day road trip. I remember fondly traveling with my grandmother before she passed, and I knew this young man would grow to treasure that trip in a part of his heart nobody will ever reach; it’ll be his and gramps alone.

After getting the frame, they started building spending full weekends under the hood for a good year and a half. They finished up just three weeks ago, just in time for the local Kool April Nites. This is a celebration of old cars with hometown flare. For miles and miles all you can see are restored cars. Wandering around down the rows of cars, you notice “teams” with matching shirts that worked on a car together, people peering into cars admiring details with “oohs” and “ahs”, strangers who become friends over a common interest–a safe place to talk about non-emotional things that they enjoy.

But, wait. It IS emotional. There is love for the cars. There is admiration for the skill in building and the final product. There is admiration, and camraderie. And there is the bonding that comes from hours together of reaching toward a common goal as a team.

Working on this story reminded me what I already knew, but need to remember moment to moment: it’s about the journey, not the destination. When you let the journey be what it is, the destination can’t help but embody perfection.

Here’s the link for the story: http://www.andersonvalleypost.com/news/2009/apr/21/hotrod-project-becomes-more-than-a-journey/

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