Probably one of the reasons people tend to keep old things around is because they remind them of times gone by, of places, events and people who have passed on. As I walk across the yard or mosey through the buildings of our family farm mental photographs of loved ones appear that are a little more wrinkled with questions about what really happened, than the last time I pulled them from the file of my remembrance. Each time I recall them, the pictures are just a little more faded than the time I last pulled them from the deep place in my mind and heart that houses so many wonderful memories.
The new wrinkles I find in my mental photograph cause me to keep some things that have no use or antique value with the simple hope that somehow they will keep the memories from fading totally away. So it is with the old thirty-seven. I keep it at the back of the farm in a white shed we still call the hog house. Now, after many years, it is no longer filled with the sounds of animals or Granpa on his old model “A” John Deere. Now it only stores odds and ends from those days gone by and spiders and mice are the only living things within
its walls. In one corner there’s a manure spreader, in another there’s some old gates, and a few odds and ends are scattered about here and there. Sometimes I’ll take someone treasure hunting there because I know that amongst the trash sits a real treasure, a black nineteen thirty-seven four door Chevy car. Its regal hood is now covered with dust and its windows are fogged over from the years, but the memories come clear when I see her setting there. The wrinkles of the past smooth away as I run my hand across the wrinkle free body that is still as smooth as the day Granpa drove it home for his bride half a century ago. As the dust falls away from the car the dust that clouds my memory falls off the photo in my mind and I once again see her paint shinning in the sun as we played around her wheels in the yard when we were children.
As I rub away the fog on the window the fog disappears from the photo still etched in my heart and as I peer inside the old car I can still see my mom behind the wheel driving me to school when I was a little boy. She could double clutch that old car until it rocked so hard from front to back we would nearly be thrown through the front window and we would laugh till we almost turned blue. One day a mouse came wandering out onto the floorboard carpet. He stood on his hind feet and looked at us as if to say this was his stop. So, mom brought the car to a halt, opened the door, the mouse jumped out and we drove on like nothing interesting had happened. Then there’s the memory I’d rather forget. Mom stood by the car door one cold winter day, her arms loaded with hundreds of schoolbooks and newly graded papers. She asked me to close the door for her, but I, being heavily laden with my Roy Rogers lunch box, promptly refused. She angrily lifted one leg to the door and gave it a hard shove, slid on an ice patch and with schoolbooks plowing snow and papers launching into the wind in a fashion that would make the space program proud, she hit the ground hard and made her other leg do things that would make a circus clown cry. She recovered on the couch with a hip cast for what seemed like the rest of my life.
The old thirty seven is now just an old hunk of junk with little hopes of being restored, but I keep it anyway because it restores my memories and because when I go there I find my loved ones still sitting next to me on those seats of soft velour. The engine that has not turned over in many years roars to life and I once again take a ride to where the memories never wrinkle and the love of our family never fades.
Sam is a businessman, writer, entertainer, speaker, husband, father to six children, grandfather and great grandfather. Sam graduated from Huntington University with a B.A. in phychology and drama and pursued a degree in Broadcasting from Illinois Central College with graduate level studies at Christian Leadership University. Sam is the creator of Granpa Cratchet, one of the most successful touring shows in the history of the live events industry. Millions of people see Granpa every year all across the United States at fairs and festivals. His characters have appeared on every major network: Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show (4 times). Sam and his characters have made over 500 local appearances and on all the major networks; NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, PBN, The LeSea Network, The PTL Network and Praise the Lord. They currently appear all around the world every week on YouTube and Facebook, and on several satellite networks via the Kidz Television Network and The Captain Hook (children's) Show.