Each of the four seasons gave my father a new outlook. Nothing ever became boring because he always had a new project around the bend. I believe he began to look forward to the winter months most of all because he and some of his workers would get down to work on what he referred to as “The Antique Limousine Business.”
This has to be one of my all-time favorite photos of my father. It encompasses so many of the elements of life that he loved so much: comfortable work clothes, his land, the trees, an antique car, the dog (a little hard to see), and wintertime.
When he went to the land, HIS land, he met with his workers or he simply puttered alone. He was in his element. His barn or garage, whichever you want to call it, had three or four stalls. Part of his garage looked like a professional service station. he had a contraption to lift vehicles so that he could work underneath them.
Dad’s land served as so much more than a piece of land for his operation. It was a meeting point for the guys throughout the year. He bought fresh doughnuts and provided a pot of coffee every morning.
Dad’s operation was truly a small town business, but built on old-fashioned values. Dad forged both friendship and trust with his workers.
I always felt there was a special bond that existed with them that even the new guys picked up on straight away. Dad loved to be busy. He loved his work. And he loved cars. He shared his vision with the workers and they believed in it as much as he did. Not only did it provide work in the off-season, but it made them feel an important part of something unique.
Dad was always scouting around for the right vehicle to transform. Men around town would give him tips where he could the right parts. Everyone shared in his vision, actually, not just his workers. Once he solidified his ideas, and it grew cold, Dad would brief his men on what he wanted and they’d get to work.
His longtime tree workers would become automotive technicians. They worked together to restore old vehicles to give them new glory. What one didn’t know, the other supplied in experience. Frankly, my father knew a heck of a lot about cars. He had worked around them all his life.
Dad had a natural curiosity for tinkering, and he had a no-nonsense approach to getting things done. If he could imagine it, he’d do it.
Charley, Kirk, Donnie, Shawn, Rusty and a few others over the years tinkered all winter long. They cut through steel plates, soldered parts together, jacked up the vehicles, spray painted, oiled, greased, rebuilt engines and whatever necessary to get an antique fitted out with a modern engine but authentic antique parts. When that was all done, they’d set to work again, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h the vehicle. My dad could keep everyone dreaming about the finished work. He held them all together. When dad drove the finished vehicle off the property and onto the road, they all celebrated.
I don’t know how to express the bonding that went during the winter months but I know that God brought it all together and made it possible to bring Dad’s visions to fruition.
God just knows each of us so well that he brought the right combination of skills and personalities to work together in Dad’s garage to restore these vehicles. Nothing is by chance. These men were hand-picked to be in my dad’s life by our Heavenly Father.
Dad’s vision being used in his antique limo business!
I’m so thankful that God brought so many blessings into my family’s life: the land that meant so much to my dad, two very special four-legged companions, the vehicles, his talents and skills, his optimism, the workers that he spent so much time with, a loving wife and children.
My father had a big heart for laughter, warmth, and especially for our small town.
This is a background segment of which the manuscript of Don Bovaird, the Tree Man, is based on.
You have just read “Dad Stretches Model-T Ford” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright January 23, 2015. Please take a moment to leave a comment.