As many you younger guys can most likely attest, I got into this whole classic truck, hot rod, classic car thing because of my dad. And for as many times as I curse him for getting me involved in something that not only chews up a good majority of my free time, but also my money and well hell, livelihood, I can't think of a better thing for him to have passed on to me when it comes to a hobby. For the positive aspects far out weight the negative no matter how burnt out I might ever get. For one, it's kept me out of trouble all these years and taught me something that a good number of my friends growing up never really got. It's easy to work a job to make ends meet and pay the bills, but when times get tough and that old grumpy boss is nipping at your heels, it's easy to walk away and find something else to make the bills when that's the only reason you're there. But when you've got your sights set on a brand new pair of wheels or a paint job or a lowering kit, it makes those tough times a little easier. That old adage of keeping your nose to the grindstone was always a little easier to maintain when that light at the end of the tunnel was a pair of headlights from your dream machine instead of a Honda hatchback and a shabby studio apartment.
Those countless nights spent in the garage with dear old dad are irreplaceable and taught me many a thing needed to be a man, whether I thought so at the time or not. The simple fact that hard work and perseverance pays off is enough a lesson to prove my point. But the relationship that spawns between a father and son when a project is shared between the two is a life lesson that can't really be understood until experienced.
Over the years, the old man and I have taken on a number of projects that have ranged from him teaching me the basics of classic car identification to role reversals where I try to subscribe him to "all things old-timey." In the end, we've exchanged countless hours of stories and tales of trials and tribulations, much to the chagrin of a loving and understanding wife and mom.
Recently, the elder Mansons came down and stayed a week at the humble Manson Jr. abode so that Sr. and I could get started on our latest project, a '56 Ford Courier for Street Rodder magazine. While I won't bore you with the details of a non-truck project (you can read Street Rodder for that!), it was a trip wrought with late nights working in the shop and greasy sandwiches shared by all; something any truck fan can appreciate. And we did do our share of idea swapping on the F-1 as well as the Willys if it's any consolation!
More importantly however, is that we were able to get together and hang out in the shop and work like we did back when I was a lad of much less means. I was reminded how he built his '40 with a bare tool box and realized how fortunate I was to have things like a good welder and plasma cutter at my disposal, thanks mostly to our gracious advertisers who lend me things to beat on from time to time.
Most importantly however, was the fact that no matter how smart I think I may have become, there's always something dad can teach me, whether it has to do with a backed up sink, how to setup a plumb bob, or how to tie a load down with a piece of rope. It's always like being a 12-year-old Boy Scout when dad's around!
But never fear, I was able to teach the old dog a few new tricks. And if nothing else, I lit a fire under him that would motivate him to drive his hot rod more than 40 miles a year, because if you don't, I will!
Happy Father's Day to all you dads and to all those sons like me, give your pops a call and take him for a ride in that old truck, I'm sure it will put a smile on his face!
See ya on that road called life!