Labor Day weekend is in the rear view. If there were any barbecues and picnics in your world, let’s hope that no hamburgers, hot dogs or grilled vegetables survived. Your favorite college football team – if you have one – was also in action. This week, we’re headed into the NFL regular season so it’s doubly stressful in the football world for the diehards. :-) Football reminds me of fall and while I did see a few leaves falling as I headed north on York Road after Saturday’s gathering, they were only due to the gusts of Tropical Storm Hermine. These weren’t quite the winds or the leaves of change…just yet.
For the superstitious, that wind machine Hermine gave us a scare early last week with forecasts. Last Saturday was set to be the 13th consecutive Saturday morning with dry roads. We’re very thankful that Hermine was pushed into the Atlantic. Looking past some of her wind, having a morning around 70 degrees – instead of what has become the recent standard ‘80 and balmy’ – was a superb upgrade. Hermine, thanks for the right turn.
This Friday - September 9 – is the birthday for one of my early automotive influences. Tom, my brother, is 3 years the elder. As little kids…and I’m going back to the 70’s here…the living room was a mini drag strip. The 8-track player next to the couch looked like nothing we’d ever seen. “What is this fancy music box?” :-) It brought music to house one button press at a time. When one of us would push the Beach Boys “Surfin’ Safari” 8-track into the machine, we’d skip to one song – “409”. At the beginning of the song, the revving engines were our cue to stand at the edge of the couch. We’d launch into a race – back and forth across the living room – throughout the song or until one of us collapsed. Before MTV, the internet and video games, this was pure entertainment.
When Tom bought a ‘72 Hugger Orange Chevy Nova in high school for next to nothing, that was a life changer for a little brother. The Nova was mechanically sound but it had a few ‘character notes’ like the half of a clothespin used as a wedge to hold the driver window in one position. I’d hear the car start in the garage and the echoes gave me wide eyes and smiles. My big brother was driving this orange monster! Once in a while, maybe to drive to the grocery store or the baseball field, I’d be a passenger. I was a few years away from driver’s ed classes but I knew that driving with only 2 thumbs between 5 and 7 on the steering wheel couldn’t be the safest thing to do…but it sure looked cool. Tom, thank you for the memories.
As I’m typing, a more contemporary band – in comparison to the Beach Boys – called Foo Fighters just started playing over this splendid technological innovation called the Apple iPhone. The song is “Hero”. One of the lyrics is “There goes my hero. Watch him as he goes. There goes my hero. He’s ordinary.” When I look back as an adult, maybe Tom was just an ordinary, hard-working kid from the PA coal region but from the eyes of a younger brother, he was simply extraordinary…a definite hero.
Every Saturday morning, we have the opportunity to make an impact on today’s youth when it comes to respectful enthusiasm for the automobile. Maybe it’s just some old-fashioned kindness and courtesy as you answer a few questions about your vehicle. Maybe it’s them witnessing your camaraderie among your buddies. Maybe it’s as simple as a smile and a positive acknowledgement. The simple things can make a big difference.