As the lockdown grinds on, Elaine and I have begun enjoying dinner with friends by ZOOM light. With our laptop propped on the opposite side of the table, we share dinner and conversation with good friends. Not only does seeing friends lift one’s spirits but it has provided needed motivation for me to abandon the Unabomber look.

In “Like children we love” I share an unexpected classic car experience.

How have you continued to enjoy you Classic Vehicle passion during the New Normal?

Like children we love

Having launched Drivin’ News, I decided to take a brief staycation at a favorite destination, my garage. Birthing the blog consumed a significant amount of time. Occurring as it did during the Covid-19 lockdown it served as a time gobbling blessing. However, being time consuming it had kept me away from my garage. No longer.

Decked out in suitably scruffy garage attire, I entered my detached 2-bay to the fanfare of my garage door clacking up its track. Flicking on the lights, a comforting familiarity embraced me. Battery tenders glowed green, the ‘61 Corvette, purchased in 1967, sat in peaceful repose in the left bay. The ’53 Jaguar XK120 to its right radiated a timeless beauty. Between the two lay a ragged shard of broken plywood amidst a sprinkling of wood fragments.

Broken plywood? After a frozen moment absorbing the incongruity of its presence on the garage floor, my eyes flashed everywhere in pursuit of clues.

My gaze quickly fixed on a massive branch and the gaping hole it had created in the ceiling of my garage. Wood dust and splinters lay all about as a reminder of the violence done to my roof. Retreating to the exterior of my garage, I climbed a stone wall to assess the damage from above. Around eight to 10 inches in diameter and an easy seven feet to eight feet long, this maple missile had snapped and plunged a good thirty feet before breaching my garage roof. Like a giant uncarved totem it stood straight and proud as if providing a mast for my garage.

Amazingly, despite its considerable destructive potential, other than my roof, damage was minimal. Actually the lack of damage astounded me.

Plunging with the force of Thor’s hammer, Mother Nature’s bullet nosed missile, after splintering the roof, wedged against a husky 2” x 6” cross member. Wearing a crown of tarpaper and wood spikes it came to rest inches from a treasured “HOT RODS TO HELL” movie poster and a few feet above my Corvette’s original hardtop.

Job one demanded relocating both cars to safer shelter. However, like children we love, classic cars do not always cooperate as we would prefer.

First out of the garage came the Corvette which had a healthy deep throated rumble when put away for the winter. It fired up without hesitation. However, apparently, the engine gremlins had visited my freshly rebuilt small block during winter hibernation. Any engine speed around 2700 rpms or above produced an ugly chorus of intense backfiring. I chose to grandma the mile or so to my alternate shelter. Engine issues would be addressed but the garage would come first.

With car cover removed and battery tender detached, a turn of the Jaguar’s key rewarded me with the crisp ticking of a healthy electric fuel pump. With ticking stopped, a quick push of the starter would set the sleek black cat in motion. Pushing the starter button was followed by…silence. The only sound breaking the silence were little birds chirping in the yard.  It felt like sitting in a Connolly leather and Wilton carpet trimmed boat anchor.

With the two 6-volt batteries well charged and the solenoid functional, it appeared the engine gremlins had visited the Jaguar starter. With all electrical systems functional, I sought to rock the car in first gear to free the starter. Not enough time. The Jaguar would stay put as the tree service would be arriving shortly. Cushioning blankets would be draped to protect the 120’s voluptuous curves.

As I walked out in anticipation of the tree service’s arrival, it dawned on me that the cars we love are not unlike the children we love. Only so much can be expected. In their honest failures they remain the subject of our affection never deserving of our anger.