I was back to having memories flooding my brain this last month and all because of my son Jim. He just turned 16 last July and although he is being way more patient than I ever was at his age, his burning desire to have his own ride was so strong that I decided he was ready for his first set of wheels. It just so happens I have a "few" AMC cars lying around the homestead, in fact, the guys at work often claim I FOUND a '76 Pacer, I never knew I had, while mowing my overgrown yard one day! While I truly don't have any Pacers, I do have 3 Eagles and a Concord. The Concord (an 81) is a loaded 4 door that we've turned into a "Meadow Beater"! Instead of having to sneak out a car, my kids have been able to hop into this "Rambler" and rip around some of my acreage whenever the mood would hit them. It's been nothing but pure fun. Since I hated to give the meadow car up, I opted to let him have the 83 Eagle Wagon which was cooler looking anyway.

When I told him it was his, this huge smile crossed his face as he replied, "COOL, can I take all my buddies to Cedar Point in it???" Ok, I knew I was in trouble but once that re-occuring issue was resolved for the moment, we got the Eagle out of the grass and onto the driveway for an assessment. Looking everything over, it became clear that brakes should be the first order of business. After jacking the car up and pulling all four wheels, we figured out what parts we needed, headed out to the auto parts store and in the blink of an eye, were hard at work replacing the worn out system.

While reassembling the rears, I asked Jim to help me with the hold down pin. As he put his finger on the back side to do that, I began to remember doing the exact same thing with my Dad on his 62 Galaxie. In fact, it was the very first car "repair" I had ever been a part of. The last time I had that memory was when John helped me do the brakes on some other car years ago, but this time the memories were stronger. As I looked at Jim's smiling face, I could feel how happy he was because I had been in his shoes myself and could still feel that excitement. Then something popped into my head that I had totally forgotten about
"The Dreaded Bucket!!!!!"

My Youngest Son Luke Rips Around In The Meadow Beater!
I Wonder If That's How I Looked In That Renault Way Back When.


It would always start out simple enough.
Dad would have to work on his Galaxie and as he toiled under the hood in the garage, he'd call out...
"Doug, come here and hold the light for me."
This may sound like a simple request but as any kid who's ever had to hold a trouble light for someone knows, it's pure torture. It would be a constant..
"You're not showing me anything!!" "Not there, hold it HERE!!" "You're shining it in my eyes!!!!"
All the while trying to see for yourself what was going on under there. But then the real torture would begin.

A common scenario would be as Dad worked at trying to get some bolt started, it would slip from his fingers and fall down into that "Magical Abyss" that every mechanic has experienced. After muttering something like "Son of a PUP!!" Dad would commence looking for the bolt. I mean, how hard could it be to find?? It's gotta be right HERE somewhere!! After searching high and low to no avail, I'd notice his eyes wander towards the "Bucket"! Instantly I would think to myself "Ohhh No..." and would feverishly join the search. But it would already be too late. As if in slow motion, I would watch him move towards the shelf where the bucket quietly sat.

In reality, it was only a two gallon beach bucket but to me, it may as well have been a 55 gallon drum. It was filled to the brim with every little nut, bolt or piece of hardware that my Dad ever encountered in his entire life and figured he'd hang on to "Just In Case" he ever needed it. Anyway, down it would come and before I could hide, it was turned over with all of it's contents lying in a pile on the garage floor. Sometimes he would find what he was looking for and sometimes he wouldn't, but it was always my job to put it all back into the bucket and I hated it! Really, as an adult looking back, it was no big deal but as a 10 year old boy, it was a form of punishment, Perhaps Dad's way of getting even with me for crimes yet uncommitted. But either way, for years, picking it all back up fell to me. As I grew older and smarter, I found a shovel worked much better than my hands and at least I could avoid all the cuts and scratches I would invariably get. But it still seemed like a curse and I wished over and over that he would stop doing that. Now, whenever I go to the old house to visit my Mom or to help her out with something, what I wouldn't give to see that pile of rusted up hardware lying in a heap on the garage floor.
Be careful what you wish for.

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