Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for Ghosts and Grails #atozchallenge

The ghost of the future, waiting for reprise.
Somewhere, rusting away in a yard succumbing to time is a dream. When I see one my heart aches and thumps.  They remind me of childhood, of my father and of dreams I still keep safe.  Y'see, I wasn't raised by sports guys, man-cave Neanderthals or suit bros.  I was raised by hands-on car guys.  My grandfather worked at the corner Mobil Station.  My father was a backyard mechanic and was always somewhere in between.  We didn't have  yards in Brooklyn, we had alleyways behind buildings.  Like the sprawling yards in the South, the alleyway was where you'd keep your car projects.   

My time with my father wasn't ball games it was plug and oil changes.  I wasn't skilled nor was I motivated because he was always yelling at me for screwing something up.  For example, I didn't mean honk the horn while he had his head under the hood.  However, this was our bonding time.  I grew to love it despite being the terrible apprentice who let him down all the time.  I got the hang of it and after a while I was doing my own project cars in the alleyway.  I dreamed of one day having my father over my house and together, we'd restore something someone left in a yard to rot.   Almost more than anything I wanted to crawl over a rusting frame and talk shop with him.  When it was finished I wanted to tool around the countryside with him showing off our work together.  Life happens, we never got there.

With his death the dream intensified.  I still want that car even if I have to do everything alone.  I need it like the ocean needs the sand to connect me to my past, to my parents and to a future that still haunts me.  I want some of the cars he had and some I've loved since I was a kid.  The major hang up being time, money and space.   

In my attempts at finding my grails I once borrowed a '69 Charger with the intent to buy it.  Then I blew the starter and shattered the driver's side window when I slammed the door.  Then handed back the keys.  The '68 Firebird lasted long enough to realize I got it cheap because speed without brakes, brake lights or traction made for very exhilarating driving.  The 57 Chevy blew a crankshaft and now sits in the yard of a collector who will "get to it one day".  All because I haven't the time, money or space to put 'em on blocks for a rainy day.  

One day I won't live in a city.  I'll have that country place with the yard the tools and the garage and then I'll find her out there somewhere.  I wanted a 69 Camaro.  Easy to find and easier to work on.  However, my father taught me to drive when I was seven by propping me on his lap in a 1971 Mustang Mach I.  He'd work the pedals and I'd steer.  It was our project and so it will be my grail.  I'll find one and with his ghost over my shoulder yelling at me I'll toil and sweat and get her road ready.
In cruising the country roads you find the carcasses of once great machines now being absorbed by the surrounding growth to one day to disappear forever.  They are the ghosts that haunt my dreams and they are the dreams I will make real.   

Thank you for visiting.  If you'd like something light and cheery, please visit my kid's picture book blog about an adventurous five-legged spider and the mischief he gets himself into at Ollie Bug's Blog , also part of the A to Z Challenge


  1. I love the way you tell stories. There is sadness, hope, and always something hysterical sandwiched in there ("speed without brakes"). One of my neighbors has an old Mustang...looks like the one Brandan on 90210's red and shiny and I kind of want to steal it sometimes :D

    1. Thank you for that, Katie. I"m blushing and I'm glad you like them. Totally enjoying your blog, too!