Monday, September 13, 2010

Coming Home



Imagine it’s the summer of ’77 and somewhere in Summerland, British Columbia on a hot afternoon there’s a bear-like 29-year-old man driving a bright orange Triumph TR6 down a steep inclined road.

Now imagine there are two brown haired boys sharing the passenger seat – both between the ages of 6 and 9.

Now imagine all three occupants are singing “Freight train, Freight train, going so fast! “Freight train, Freight train, going so fast!” - All at the top of their collective lungs.

The driver, the man who in two years would be my father, is singing the song with unbridled enjoyment. The passengers are singing it with a hint of fear because they were just told if they didn’t Bruce was going to skip the turn and drive the car straight into the lake. And knowing their Uncle Bruce like they did – it was quite possible he just might not be bluffing.

This was the story told to me by my cousin in an email on Friday after reading through the blog for the first time.

Cut to 33 years later and 33 miles east of Summerland in Kelowna, British Columbia. Two men aged 31 and 29 are leaning on the same car on a hot September afternoon waiting for a mechanic to show up. They would have to wait one more day to hear that car run for the first time (they could remember) in their lives. Keys have been in the ignition for the last 15 years but not today when we really needed them.

Mike forgot he had a wedding to attend on Saturday when he told me to show up between two and three in the afternoon that day. When he did remember he neglected to phone me.

I think it’s important to point out at this here that Mike is a very good mechanic.

Brother Neal and I decided to give up on Mike around 3:30 and make our way over to my in-laws condo in Westbank. We had big plans of a dinner out but because of the 4:45 AM start time that day we both promptly fell asleep on the living room couches watching American Pickers. We ordered in Pizza sometime later.

The next day Mike phoned me at 8AM on the nose – which is good because that was my plan too. He needed time to finish getting my bill together (never a good sign) so Neal and I went for breakfast until nine.

When we arrived Mike started the car for us and we spent a good 20mins just ooh-ing and awe-ing. Then Mike told us a long story about why he had to ditch us the day before. As Neal and I are both now married, as is Mike, the story was very relatable – but not entirely forgivable.

We went through the items on the car and then we went through the bill. The bill did catch me by surprise a bit. The outstanding balance was higher than anticipated. This was compounded by the fact that I had no real indication that such a balance remained – even though I requested final numbers before I came to pick it up so I could be prepared.

I’m not telling tales out of school here – I told Mike how I felt.

I’m not going to get into numbers but I’m pretty sure it will be along time before I’m allowed to take on a venture like this again now that I’m married.

The bill didn’t sour the day too much. What did was the traffic home. We had rain all the way home and were stopped by an accident for an hour and a half. Match that with not getting to the business of the car until Sunday morning and you get a long day.


We didn’t get into Red Deer until ten PM and I didn’t get into bed in Calgary until 1:30 Am. Like I said – a long day.


The video shows the entire seventy feet I’ve driven the car so far. I will be in Red Deer next weekend to shoot some video, take some pics and maybe some shakedown.


Stay tuned…

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