Subject: The Late Great '68 Camaro Giveaway.......for.....$1.47.
June 30, 2006
The dream faded fast as the old man slowly awoke to the sound of his son's voice in the bedroom doorway. "Time to go, Old Man." It took a few seconds to orient himself as the dream blinked itself into oblivion. He looked up and saw his son standing in the doorway.
"OK" was all he said as he rolled out of the bed and reached for his shorts and t-shirt. He followed his son down the narrow hall of the trailer toward the kitchen. He noticed how tall and straight his son looked from the back and couldn't help feeling a touch of pride in knowing he had alot to do with how the kid had turned out. Good genes. "Gave it my best shot", the old man said to himself as they reached the kitchen. The coffee was already perking as he looked at the so called atomic clock on the wall. 5:10 am. The kid's just like his old man. One of them 'early risers. "Wanna take a cup with you on the road?"
"Yeah, I've got a throw away cup in the truck." The old man bent down and took a plastic car cup out of a bottom cupboard where he kept all the travel mugs he had aquired over the years.
"Here, take this one. It's one of my Colorhouse cups". He had taken it from the last good job he had worked at before his world had so suddenly fallen apart some six years ago. He got out the cream and sugar as his son pored coffee into the mug. "Keep it. It's one of the better ones and I have about five more just like it.
His son carried the coffee over to the kitchen table and sat down, pulling his checkbook out of his rear pocket. "How much did you say you wanted for the car?" He was already writing out the amount. $1.47. "Are you sure you won't come down a bit on the price?" The old man smiled, remembering the amount he had put on the bill of sale he had sent his son along with the title at Christmas.
"Now remember, don't deduct this amount from your balance. I'm never going to cash the check. I'm framing it and hanging it on my wall. Then on those hot summer days I'll glance at the check and remind myself how stupid I was to get rid of the car." They both laughed.
"Pop, are you sure you really want to do this? We can wait longer if you want. I feel weird about this. Nobody has ever done anything like this for me before." They both knew as he said this that there was no more waiting to be done. If the old man was going to miss or regret getting rid of the car now, it wouldn't be any different ten years down the road.
"No Shawn, now is the time. You are the exact same age as the car and I never gave you anything growing up. It all fits right now. I just wish I would have charged you more. I was offered $2.00 by the guy at the place where we rented the car trailer yesterday."
"I'll give you more if you want. I think I can give you another 54 cents without putting myself in a financial bind." They both laughed again. They both sounded the same. He's got my sense of humor, thought the old man.
"No, I'm sticking to the original price." The kid stood up and there was a brief moment of hesitation before they hugged. Somehow a handshake just wasn't going to be enough this time. The old man noticed that this hug lasted a little longer than their previous ones. And a little tighter too. "Was that me, or him that held on longer?
They both headed for the door. The old man grabbed his camera as they went outside. He noticed that the pickup was already running. The kid was anxious to hit the road. He had a long drive ahead of him. 701 miles from Rapid City,SD to MIssoula,MT. The old man had taken many pictures the evening before as they had loaded the car on the trailer. Even one of him handing the keys to his son. He didn't want to miss recording the event. He had, over the years, kept a very accurate photo record of the work he had done in restoring the car, from the day back in 1982 when he had first taken posession of it. He had encouraged his son to keep going with the photo album. Someday it would come in handy when the car once again changed hands. His grandson was next in line to own it.......someday. And he had made sure that the car would never be sold outside the family.
The old man took one last picture of his son as he climbed in to the cab of the pickup. "Call me from anyplace along the way if you run into trouble. It wouldn't take much of an excuse for me to hop in my car and come to your rescue".
It was still too dark out for good pictures but the old man walked out in the street and kept clicking away as the truck pulled the trailer holding his camaro on down to the corner. These probably won't come out but it might be the last chance I get to see my baby of 24 years. I wonder how I'll feel about this tomorrow. My driveway sure looks empty, he thought. The kid had turned the corner and was now well on his way to the onramp to the interstate that would take him home. "Gone! I really did it! No more camaro. Shit!" He smiled.
The old man went back to his porch and sat down at his small table. He sat there for awhile, letting himself feel whatever emotions were there. He felt the happiness of passing his pride and joy on to his son. He also felt a slight emptiness in knowing he would never cruise the streets again in that car. Never get those thumbs up signals from people on the sidewalks again. He smiled at what he had just accomplished and felt a tear rolling down his cheek.
6:00am June 30, 2006