It’s car show season again, at least when the weather allows. So far I’ve hit about a dozen, and as usual have had a sensational time. At most of these shows there are warning signs on the vehicles, along the lines of: “Do Not Touch My Car”, “Look With Your Eyes, Not With Your Fingers”, or my favorite, “Choose Life. Keep Your Hands Away from this Car”. An antique car is an investment in tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars, so naturally many antique car owners are leery of show crowds.
A weekend ago I saw something a little different, a sign that read, “Children You Are Welcome to Explore My Car. Enjoy!” It was in the window of a nice, though not incredibly pristine Model A Ford. Over the course of fifteen minutes kids and their parents came along, hopped in the driver’s seat, sounded the Klaxon horn (Ah-OOO-Gah), and played with the gear shift lever. The kids had a wonderful time, which was a refreshing change from the museum-like etiquette at most shows.
I asked the owner about his sign, and he explained that he wanted to make a memory for kids and families, and the only way to get a kid excited about an old car is hands-on fun. If something broke, it could be fixed. If the seat got dirty, or the paint a little scuffed, so be it. He told me that he’d had some major health setbacks in recent years, and reevaluated what’s important in life: helping people enjoy their lives to the fullest. So now he makes sure that kids get in his car and toot the horn, run his electric trains (often off the tracks, at top speed), and jump on the furniture. Those things can be replaced.
But a memory is forever. If you see this car, make sure you toot the horn.