Last evening was one of those rare and unforgettable times when two generations shared a mutual interest and fascination together.
My closer friends know that I’ve enjoyed just about all things “automobile” for the last 55 years! My grandfather sold cars near the end of his working career, and my dad restored 11 relatively rare and unusual cars from the mid-twentieth century, one of which I still proudly drive in the summer months. (A 1946 Plymouth convertible, Special Edition)
Now, my 13 year old grandson Jack has locked into the world of high performance cars, most especially the “supercars” that are speckled throughout our city and around the nation and even the world. (These are exotic cars built by Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Porsche, BMW, Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge that have captured the world’s attention. Many of them have taken race track technology down to the street level and built cars that we could not have imagined even one generation ago in terms of speed, power, handling, and technology.)
So, it made perfect sense that last evening we would go together to the mid-way point of the week of festivities known as the Pittsburgh Vintage Gran Prix. This event that was started in 1988 has a charity fund raiser for children and families with autistic challenges has raised over $5,000,000 for this worthy cause in the last 30 years. It culminates with a highly anticipated street race through Schenley Park, made up primarily of vintage older cars that are specially prepared for such an event.
Last evenings event was held at the parking area closest to Heinz Field and approximately 200 showcase cars were parked along Art Rooney Avenue and up on the walkways near one of the main entrances to the field. There were close to 200 showcase cars and well over 3,000 people in attendance.
What really mattered for Jack and me was that we had nearly 3 hours to closely examine some of the most exotic, rare and beautiful cars ever made that are still driving the streets of our city today! Many of the owners of these vehicles were more than happy to tell some of their stories and how they had preserved or restored older cars or acquired a newer one through some personal set of circumstances. It certainly made the evening more enjoyable that the weather was nearly perfect at 80 degrees with warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. As in most of these events, the patrons were all pleasant and a very few, if any, were personally “over their limit” or acting inconsiderately.
What I realized about half way through the evening was that these are the kind of special connections that grandfathers can have with their grandchildren because they have a bit more time and show an interest in what their young guy or gal seems to care about. Jack and I talked the whole time and on more than one occasion made some wild speculations as to how he might one day have a vehicle like one of these to bring to the show!
It was an added blessing to be able to see a number of friends who share this same interest with me and introduce them to Jack as the “next generation of car guys”!
(I’ll confess that I’m a little better at these things as my grandchildren move into their teenage years. Carol seems to do much better with them as babies, little ones and early learners. She has that gift!)
The only thing that I noted last night was that I don’t remember seeing any other teenagers in or around the entire show. I’m sure some were there, but very few, and it made me appreciate even more the special bond that the Lord is allowing me to share with a couple of my grandsons… and 7 more younger ones (boys and girls) that are still climbing toward their teenage years.
Jack and I are finishing up our study of “Seven Men: and the Secret of Their Greatness” by Eric Metaxes. Undoubtedly the content of that book is much more profound than the story of any automobile. However, the study of those more important things seems to go even more smoothly when balanced by an experience like last night which was just something special that I don’t think we’ll ever forget.
Parents and grandparents, I commend you and urge you to continue to make any investment in those young lives for as long as you can.