Throughout high school, I gave my parents a lot of trouble. I didn’t care much about following anyone’s rules and was into a number of different things I shouldn’t have been. After graduation, I went home with my parents but I had already arranged for a studio apartment across town. I didn’t want to be at home a night longer than I had to. In the driveway of our home was an older used Ford sedan. I asked them if they got a new car. My parents shook their heads and told me it was my graduation gift! I smiled and tried to act happy but I thought, of all the cool cars they could get me, they get me this old Ford.
It wasn’t long before the car broke down and I called my father. He came to take a look. He was a retired Army mechanic at this point and missed the work and military life. He showed me what was wrong and taught me how to fix it. Every time I drove the car I wondered if it would break down. Even the steering wheel bugged me because it was the old knobby type and the dash had cracks in it too. Over the next year, I must have called him twenty times to help me work on the car. He’d come over and make sure everything kept running for me.
I sold the car to a junkyard some years later; my dad agreed it was no longer worth repairing. But only recently did I begin to realize just how important that old car ended up being for me. That car breaking down was the first time that I’d really connected with my father in years given my stubborn adolescent streak. I wouldn’t have called him once over that year if it wasn’t for that car. Whenever I remember that car, I remember my dad and the relationship that him working with me on the car provided.
He passed away last year on Memorial Day. Two months ago I drove by a junkyard and saw an old Ford sedan just like OUR old car. I stopped to look at it and wound up purchasing the steering wheel from it, the old knobby type. I now have it displayed proudly on the wall in my office. I miss Dad terribly and realize that he was the very best gift I had during those developmental years! Thank Goodness for old Fords!
See this story at Bella Atto ~> Thank Goodness for Old Fords
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