Sunday, March 26, 2017

Remembering My Best Buddy

My better half Meg and I met him in August of 2001, near the family farm in southeastern Ohio, just a short drive from where I saw my truck for the first time. After making the annual drive out for the family reunion (this year will be the 49th), I was showing Meg some sights and he came out of the woods as we were pulling in to check out Dad's childhood home. We were immediately struck by his very friendly demeanor and the way he chased us down the road as we were leaving, and figured it just might be a sign that we needed to bring him home with us. After Aunt Marce confirmed that he was a stray, we knew what we had to do. We named our new family member Shay, after the road where we found him - Shay Ridge.

Meeting my new friend, August 2001

Shay with his new mommy, August 2001

After getting him back to Connecticut and to the vet, we learned he was about 8 months old. Of course, we had no way of knowing the exact day he was born, so we decided that he would have the same birthday as Meg's grandmother, January 14th. The vet also told us that Shay had every parasite they tested for, and might have lasted another month on his own in the woods. For us that was just confirmation that we had done the right thing by bringing him home. And it might seem strange, but I've always thought he understood just how lucky he was that we came along when we did. Of course, we were very lucky too.

In the truck, summer 2014

Celebrating Shay's 16th birthday, January 2017

Little brother Zachary looking after Shay - March 16, 2017

The friendly demeanor and strong spirit he'd always had were still there, but his body was failing him. Although he was quite obviously in steady pain, he never made a sound that would indicate it. We had to carry him up and down the stairs, he had difficulty walking and a very hard time just going from standing to lying down. As much as it broke my heart to let him go, I just couldn't stand to see my boy suffer any more. He left us for the rainbow bridge on Saint Patrick's Day 2017.

I picked up his ashes yesterday, along with the paw print in clay. Meg will use some of the ashes in her garden (where Shay was always sniffing around), to mix with the soil as she plants some annuals. Come August, we'll also spread some at the spot where we met him 16 years ago, to bring the story full circle.

See you down the road, Shayboy. I'll always miss you. Thank you for being the greatest best friend I've ever known.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Parts Coming and Going

My new friend Jim took the Bel Air engine to its new home in New York last Saturday. It was a pleasure chatting and doing business with him. Loved hearing about his sizable collection of vehicles and various projects. He checked out the '49 chassis while he was here, then emailed on Sunday to say he wants that too. Figured I better get busy removing the body, and managed to get the front clip off the truck today. It was easier than I thought and not difficult to move. The bed and hopefully the cab will come off tomorrow, along with the bumpers and brackets.

When the Fed Ex man rolled into the driveway while I was wrenching today, I figured it was something for Meg. I certainly wasn't expecting the S10 parts I ordered from Rock Auto on Thursday night with the cheapest shipping option, but there they were. I'd call that pretty good service! It was a welcome surprise that added a nice touch to the day.

No luck yet finding a temporary indoor space to pull the S10 body parts (which will be sold - they're in great shape) and get the chassis cleaned up for the swap. I guess I could put it here with the '49 chassis out of the way, but I'd really rather not have to count on good weather to be able to get work done. Maybe Santa will finally bring me that garage I've been asking for every year... ;-)

Thanks for stopping by! See y'all down the road!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bel Air Engine Goes Down the Road

The '53 Bel Air engine has been sold and will be picked up today, as preparation for the chassis swap continues. Some have expressed concern that swapping in the '91 S10 chassis will devalue the truck. I would agree if we were talking about an all original '49, but this is not the case. Mine wasn't even original when my brother bought it in Missouri and drove it home to Connecticut in 1981. The original blue had been painted over, it was on its second engine and Pete swapped in a different '49 chassis that was in better shape.

For as long as I live the truck will never be for sale for any price anyway. The real value for me is in the story, and how it's all dedicated to Mom's memory. When the swap is done we'll have a comfortable, dependable driver that will get me not only down to the Sycamore and other nearby events with ease, but also across the country and back, allowing me to cross the epic road trip off the top of my bucket list.

Looking forward to working with and learning from Jason Woodage at Custom Conversions in New Milford, as we write the next chapter in the history of this old beauty.

Thanks for stopping by! See y'all down the road!