Trimming my Bucket List and Forgiving my Father and Me

My bucket list justifies impulses such as buying the 1955 sports car my dad originally promised me when I was a teenager. I had to save $200, and when I did Mom told me we couldn’t afford it. Dad found a 4-door used sedan I didn’t like but agreed to buy. I’ve lived with that disappointment for 58 years.

1955MGTF racing green enlargedI shared that story with a friend, let’s call him Raz,. I proposed we store a classic car in one of his garage stalls.

“Now, you’re talking,” he said.

His father was a car dealer who infused him with a passion for cars who once restored a Corvette.  I recalled the car as a Triumph and he advised me to consider a TR6 from 1969-75 because the 1955 versions are expensive.

Next day he emailed about a 1969 TR6 red convertible for sale in Chelan. I was unavailable for a week, so he drove up to evaluate it because he’s in the market for a classic car.

A day later he sent me a two page, single spaced report. He details its overdrive shift lever, dual side-draft carbs and a folding driver’s headrest making it easy to put my 14-pound mutt in the back. The engine sounded strong and transmission felt OK.

“Authentic Triumph!” he wrote. “White scarf and goggles optional.”

His passion and insights convinced me the car would be fun to own and would appreciate in value, excellent qualities for any bucket list.

First I had to know if my long legs would fit in the car. Raz offered to drive to Chelan in his sports car to test drive my potential sports car.

I cruised auction sites on eBay and Triumph registries, signed up for auction alerts on my cell phone and studied Buyer’s guides. The thrill I had as a teenager was coming back, but I still had one major problem.

We met for coffee. He gave me six back issues of Sports Car Market to study. I gave him my scenario: he’d fall in love with that car, I’d buy it, we’d store it at his place, he could drive it and tinker with it.

“Not going to happen,” he said.

He had other priorities.

The car disappointed me when I saw it, maybe the taillights, or color, whatever.

The owner said Wenatchee had a British car mechanic and car club with members owned models such as MGs. He stunned me.

MG, a green MG, was the car I craved.

I liked driving the Triumph, but my legs need more room. By then Raz wanted to make a purchase happen.

“If it’s any help, you can store it in my garage for the first winter. I’ll work something out.”

On the way home we talked about other sports cars besides MGs, but I wanted to look up MGs.

The British Car Club of Wenatchee hosted an MG Experience Rally in 2010. An MG experience registry listed cars for sale. Suddenly my heart flipped.

I found a 1955 MG-TF British racing green convertible for sale that I dreamed of owning at the age of 14, missed a chance to buy at 17 and crave it at 72. It’s a restored show car at an affordable price.

In the glow of re-discovery, I emailed Raz that we drive to Maryland and drive our cars back. He declined, wisely.

“My advice: fly out, buy it, ship it,” he said.

That night I knew it wouldn’t fit into Karen’s and my lifestyle. We don’t drive cars on weekends. She weaves, I write and we ride bikes together.

Surprisingly, I felt complete. Plunging back into sports cars has transformed an unsettling memory into an engaging story.

The story allows me to forgive Dad. I sold my car before he drove me to a private college that cost him plenty and me nothing. He died the next summer.

Raz read an earlier version of this article. The TR6 didn’t suit him either.

“It was a fun day,” he said. “I’m glad it worked out for you!”

And I’m free to enjoy other impulses in my bucket list.

About Russellsclearskies

Writing to poke fun at a retired klutz like me who's curiously exploring the absurdities and complexities of the good life. .
This entry was posted in JuaticeMercyHumility, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Trimming my Bucket List and Forgiving my Father and Me

  1. Jane says:

    I know where there is a fiberglass Porsche replica that has been waiting to become a complete car for 30 years. I know where there is a 1974 BMW coupe that just needs a little repair, now worth as much as the original purchase price. I also know about grudges. I held one against my father-in-law for six years, but was happy that I forgave him while he was still living. (He never knew I was mad anyway.) glad you have put this to rest. Enjoy life.

  2. Lynne Russell says:

    Dad, I love this one. On so many levels. It’s my favorite so far.

    lynne russell ~ sent from my phone

  3. Joann Anderson says:

    Hi, Jim.
    Thanks for this. On my first read (actually need to read it twice to catch all the nuances) I thought you were writing about buying a car, so was surprsied when you didn’t. It was really about forgiving your father and mother–why forgiving yourself in the title? A little tweaking here and therre will help. The picture is beatiful.

  4. Audi Reinthaler says:

    Wonderful reading just early this morning. Are we getting together on aug 7th. You do know that we are into antique cars! Audi

    Sent from my iPad

    On Aug 1, 2013, at 4:57, James S Russell’s Clear Skies wrote: Russellsclearskies posted: “My bucket list justifies impulses such as buying the 1955 sports car my dad originally promised me when I was a teenager. I had to save $200, and when I did Mom told me we couldnt afford it. Dad found a 4-door used sedan I didnt like but agreed to buy. “

  5. Chuck Largent says:

    Nice story Jim. My dad was a mechanic
    & I have lots of good car stories. $25.00 & $75.00 cars in those days. Take care, Chuck.

  6. Terry says:

    fun story, Jim.


  7. Sheri Russell says:

    Thanks for sharing your heartfelt story, thought process and satisfaction of where you are now. Love you, Sheri

  8. Brenda Abney says:

    Another entertaining blog. I love reading your stuff!

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