We really do think of our Papa as “The Man, The Myth, The Legend”. He has been married to his wife for what will be 58 years this May. They started dating when they were 16, and to this day he is still madly in love with her. Papa has raised 6 children and been such an incredible role model. He is also a wonderful role model for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a drill Sargent in the Air Force before working in the printing business. Papa worked hard, very hard, to support his family, and he did so happily.
During all these years, working, raising kids, Papa never had one thing, not one toy to call his very own. Then, 15 years or so ago, he bought a 1950 Ford 2 Door Deluxe for $1500. Needless to say it wasn’t in “deluxe” shape, but he was joyful to have it and has worked on it ever since just a little bit at a time. He made the inside look as good as he could doing the work himself and with little money. Four years ago he began replacing the wheels, one wheel each year.
In 2015, Papa was diagnosed with MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome. He never complains or feels sorry for himself, but it has slowed him down tremendously and he finds this very frustrating. This Fall, 2017, his treatments became less effective has his disease has progressed. His Dr. advised him in January 2018, to stop the chemo treatments because they only had a 20% chance of extending his life by “months” and there was an 80% chance that he would die from an internal bleed caused by very, very, low platelet counts (in part, due to the Chemo). His reaction was “20% is better than 0%! I want to go to Back to The 50’s just one more time this June!”
A couple of weeks ago I asked him if there was anything that he wanted to do or have; did he have a dream he wanted to accomplish before his time was up? I would really, really, like is to go to Back to The 50’s in June with the bodywork done and my car painted Candy Apple Red! Papa knew he would never be able to afford the required bodywork to have “The Mean Machine”, that’s what he calls it, painted so the Mean Machine has always been just primed gray. In his head and maybe in his heart, it is “Candy Apple Red” he has always dreamt about, but he loves this car and every improvement has been done by him, and been done joyfully. I guess maybe he can love that car no matter just like he has always been able to love us, no matter what.
Papa’s “Mean Machine” has no monetary value but to him and to those that have seen him with that one thing that belongs to just him, it is worth more than a million! Each year, in June, Papa brings his car to the Back to The 50’s Car Show. He LOVES Back to The 50’s and refers to it as “his Christmas” because it really is that exciting to him!
If any one man is deserving of having his one dream, it is him. I want desperately for him to go to (his Christmas) Back to The 50’s with his car all spiffy and him feeling so proud. I know that if he doesn’t get his dream, but he still gets to go to Back to The 50’s, his cup will still be mostly full and he will be joyful there with the “Mean Machine”. However nothing would make this “Man Myth and Legend” happier than going to back to the 50’s (probably his last time) with his car fixed and painted. Please help us send the patriarch of our family back to the 50’s one last time in style.