Wednesday, May 5, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 123

Taken: Mary 3, 2010, 1:30 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

I grew up loving cars. Got it from my Dad who turns 84 next week. I was one of those kids who knew all the car types, brands, even some years. My two favorite places to think are in the shower and behind the wheel of my car driving and listening to the radio or my iPod. I'm not sure there's a seat that's more comfortable for me (and my sometimes cranky back) than the one in my car. It just seems to fit me perfectly.

As much as I love the natural beauty of things, I can also fully appreciate a good man-made road, especially one that winds and bends through a flavorful countryside. To my husband's constant chagrin, I've never owned a car that didn't have a manual transmission. I don't know if my next one will an automatic but the day I buy one is going to feel like the end of an era.

I get this from my Dad, all of it.  He used to tell me that women needed certain skills -- how to do simple household fixes, use basic tools, change your oil, drive a stick. Skills you never know you'll need until you need them. Trust me on that.

He always had cars around - mostly in threes. Typically, though, only one of them would be running. Sometimes two. We used to joke the others were for parts. They were also exotic, at least for me. Names like Fiat, Saab, MG, Alfa, Citroen -- a lot of names most people know now but when I was a kid, Saab was just trying to get a foothold in the car market (funny but it looks now like we may have seen the last of them).

The coolest cars were the Citroens. Truth be told I couldn't appreciate them when I was a kid 'cause I thought they were ugly (teenage prerogative)  but now whenever I see one on the road, I think about my Dad. Which is a very cool thing if you think about it. It's one of the many things I love about my Pop. He had a immense and deep interest in the world around him, a curiosity about the way things work that led him to tinker with all of it. I'm sure a lot of daughters think of their Dad as being the smartest guy they know, but my mine is seriously gifted. A total right brain/left brain kind of guy -- he made beautiful sculptures when he was a young man, an art he picked up again in his retirement and he taught me a lot of what I know about photography. As long as I remember, he had a workshop where he made things out of wood -- useful stuff from cutting boards to grandfather clocks. And whenever we needed something around the house fix -- vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, leaky faucets, etc. -- we didn't have to call any old repair man.  

Everything I know about tools and toolboxes and fixing stuff, I learned from watching/helping my Dad. And something else too: I got my curiosity about the innards of stuff from him too. Every few months, I find myself sitting over some gadget I've taken apart, trying to figure out where all the parts fit. Unfortunately, I'm not as smart as my Dad where these things are concerned. In fact, if I've got one regret, it's not paying more attention to my Dad when I was a kid. So many opportunities to get a lesson on cars, woodworking, art, photography and a thousand other things and yet half the time I was just too busy with my shit to take the time to watch and learn. Color me stupid.

And something else about my Dad - he knows how to chill. I'm serious. He worked hard, believe me, he knew how to have a good time. He had a ton of hobbies and he kept most of them all his life. He always had a sailboat, that workshop, got to be a pretty good cook who is known around his digs as The Hors d'oeuvres King and he makes a damn good martini. I guess in a lot of ways my Dad's a renaissance man.

If it's true we keep the flame of our loved ones alive in our memories, my Dad is going to live forever. So much that I do, so many things I see and appreciate are because he had such a deep interest in the world and he made sure to share it with us kids. I know your Dad is supposed to be a good guy, supposed to be there for you, give you advice, counsel, comfort but I know there's lots of Dads who aren't up to the task. Mine was -- and is. In fact, I think I'm going to go call him now and ask him what the hell this car is in this picture. Whatever it is, it made me think about him.

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