Sunday, June 09, 2019
My friend Janet has a birthday around the same time as mine, and this year we decided to celebrate a day together, a tribute to ourselves–in which Janet’s hubby Rick chauffeured us in Ms Merlot. Rick gave this 1937 Buick Special to Janet as a birthday gift several years ago, after he and a friend spent five years rebuilding it from pieces and recreating a gorgeous hunk.
During those rebuilding years, Rick hid Ms Merlot from Janet. He worked in secret to ready it for presentation on one of her birthdays, and to accomplish this, often stayed out late nights or left super-early on mornings. Over time, Janet began wondering if he were having an affair–and confronted Rick–upon which he and his friend worked harder and faster to finish the vehicle. Rick and their children (who were in on the secret) managed to keep mum through years, until the day of presentation. This itself is a funny story, for it took Janet awhile to get her head around believing herself gifted with a fully-restored car.
Rick is a master carpenter with a commercial shop in which he designed and fabricated the Buick’s dashboard and created an inlaid steering wheel. The restored dash has readable gauges, clearly identifying such as “oil”, “water”, and “temp”–to me lovely, for in driving modern vehicles, I’m confused by which gauge represents “water” or “oil”.
Although it’s Janet’s car, she rarely tries to drive it, for the brakes are original to 1937 and need activation by a very heavy foot. Rick is planning to modify the brakes and make driving the car easier for Janet.
As a passenger rather than driver, I loved being able to focus on sightings, and Rick was willing to stop for photographs. Riding in this vintage vehicle was a little emotional, reminding me of childhood rides in my mother’s big Chrysler–or perhaps her car that seemed real big to a very little girl. Ms Merlot, of a similar vintage, has less interior space than I expected, but she’s a comfortable ride–and has roll-open wind wings! How I still love and often miss having those little air-controllers on today’s vehicles.
I’m thankful to Janet and Rick for that unique, unforgettable, and special outing. Finally, it felt a bit sad watching my new friend, Ms Merlot, roll down the driveway toward her own home. In terms of discovery and excitement, she represents history. And she’s right up there with Alaska’s (and Bend’s) Klondike Kate!
Dear Friends, creativity done right is ageless and magnificent! Diana