Monday, May 30, 2016

Year One on the Road

When we finally got this truck on the road again one year ago today, I hadn't planned for it to coincide with another pretty big anniversary. I just picked a date that I hoped would be good for everyone in the family. I knew the other event happened at some point over the last few days of May, but wasn't sure until I looked at a 1981 calendar on Saturday. Turns out that my first ever drive in the old truck last year and the race of my life 35 years ago happened on the same day. The truck project has always been a tribute to Mom's memory, because we lost her just as the truck was entering the family. And that race 35 years ago today is forever seared in my memory because Mom was there.

Here's an excerpt from "John's Old Truck - Living the Dream and Honoring Mom" (links in sidebar) that details the events of My 30th, 1981:

I will forever be thankful for all the great memories from my 17 years with Mom, but there is one that really stands out. In late May of 1981, she was there to see me run in the 110 meter hurdle final at the Connecticut Class M track meet at Middletown High School. It was a very hot, humid day, the kind of weather that seems to just suck all the energy right out of you. I settled into the blocks for that state championship run and rose to the set position on the starter's command. When the gun went off, it seemed like I had been launched into another dimension. Everything was a blur. The heat and humidity meant nothing. The cheering crowd became a sort of low level hum. My focus could not have been stronger. These days I guess it would be described as being "in the zone." But through it all, clear as a bell three or four hurdles from the finish, I could hear my mother cheering for me. I won that race in 14.7 seconds, a full half second faster than my previous personal best, setting the Bethel High School record that stands to this day. It was without question the greatest athletic achievement of my life, and I'll always be glad that Mom was there to witness it. We lost her three months later.

photo taken by Mom just after the race. I'm in the white shorts

and the fresh 5/30/15 video edit, combining two cameras

The first year on the road has been a total blast. Looking forward to many more, and remembering Mom the whole way...

See y'all down the road!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

More Dreaming on a Rainy Sunday

As regular readers here would guess, I follow several different online sites that feature pictures of old pickups. It's great to see what others do with their projects and I've picked up some great ideas for my own, but the main reason I enjoy looking at all the photos is because I know there's a story behind every single truck. I love to hear these stories. I love to see the patina of a decades old pickup and imagine the original owner driving the shiny new beauty off the showroom floor, where it went, all the different things it's hauled over the years, etc...

Last spring, 34 years after my brother drove it home from Missouri to Connecticut and into our family, I finally lived the dream of driving my truck for the first time. My story is a tribute to Mom, who died tragically while my brother was making his way home with the truck in 1981. It's impossible to look at or think about this old Chevy without also thinking of her.

My mother always loved the idea of an epic road trip, which is something I've also been dreaming about since my teen years. I can recall a specific conversation where she talked about her desire to drive the entire Alaska Highway, and I said how I would totally want to ride along. My dream is a coast to coast run, including Route 66 end to end and rolling into Ohio for our annual family reunion on the way back, where I saw this truck for the first time.

We're obviously a long way from being ready for such a tremendous jaunt, and getting there will not be cheap. As I'm sure all the working people with similar dreams understand, the day job alone won't get it done. So I decided to put my story out there for three bucks a pop, hoping to bring in enough extra cha-ching to make the road trip dream happen. It's definitely a long shot, but the ideal scenario would have it happening in the summer of 2018, with the truck cruising into our 50th family reunion that August.

It's my kind of e-book: A short story with lots of photos. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. I would be honored and very appreciative if you would like to help this overgrown boy live his dream. And of course please feel free to share with friends... ;-)

Thank you! See y'all down the road!