My parents recently moved from North Carolina to The Villages, Florida. As they couldn't have a real shop at their new home, I got the bulk of my father's tools, along with his drive-on lift. I have to admit that disassembling and taking all the stuff was a bit surreal. We'll still do stuff together at my house, of course, but taking the tools and equipment made it all too clear that yet another chapter in their lives was coming to close. At 77 and 75, you can never be certain how many chapters left.
My dad is the reason I'm into cars and motorcycles. We started way back in the late 70s when he helped my uncle (his younger brother) repair and paint my uncle's early 70s Pontiac LeMans. From there, he, along with as much help as my pre-teen self could give, restored a 1961 Impala and a 1961 Corvette. Together--still more him than me--we built my first car, a 1966 Chevelle convertible (complete with an LS6 454 crate engine and a 4-speed). He then built my mom a 1957 BelAir hardtop for their 50th wedding anniversary. He also bought a 1960 Impala convertible (all original except for the paint).
Then the real time together began. We spent 4 years building a 1956 BelAir convertible. We sliced the front of the frame off and welded in the front sub from a 1979 Firebird, added A/C (modified from an early 70s GM A-body), a 1996 Corvette LT4 crate engine, a 700R4, and the rear end from the '79 Firebird. We added every "old man's" option GM hadn't yet thought of in 1956, including power windows, power vent windows, power seat, power locks, til wheel, lighted vanity mirrors, power outside mirrors, cruise control, and a power trunk release/pull down.
A few years ago, he sold the '56 to build a 1959 Impala. Again I helped, though he had to do a lot more due to our now living so far apart (we both lived in Maryland when we did the '56). The '59 now occupies a space in his oversized garage in Florida.
I think I typed a lot more than I originally intended. If I ran too long, I apologize. My point, though is that my father is the one who got me here. He taught me patience, diligence, and generosity. He's my dad, and I'll be forever grateful of all he taught and all we did together. He's also why I love motorcycles, but we'll leave that for another post.