When we celebrated Brandon’s 16th birthday at the end of June, the major event was the presentation of a gift by his other grandfather. Grampa Axel, now in his early 80’s, has always been pretty generous toward both Brandon and Alexa. When one has a birthday, the other receives a gift as well.
On this day, Grampa Axel didn’t arrive in his Dorango as usual. He owns 3 classic cars, all Chryslers, but rarely drives them, certainly never in rain. For this reason I was surprised when he pulled up in his immaculate green, 1966 Chrysler. The car has been meticulously maintained and cared for. Except for an occasional road trip to Manitoba, it has spent most of its life in a garage, along with the other two classics.
On this day, Grampa Axel backed the Chrysler carefully onto the front lawn and parked near the entrance of the house. The vehicle has an enormous trunk and I quickly concluded it must contain a large, very special gift. A gift too heavy to carry far. Cars aren’t usually permitted on the lawn, but he obviously believed the indiscretion would be overlooked this time.
I waited with considerable anticipation for Grampa Axel to open the trunk. I was disappointed and at least a little mystified when he got out and walked to the front door of the house, as though nothing of consequence was happening. Apparently I was the only one curious about what the trunk contained. No one asked why he had parked there or why he didn’t open the trunk.
From a conversation I overheard a little later between our daughter Vivian, son-in-law Troy, and Alexa and Brandon, I began to understand that they already knew what the very special gift in the trunk was. Actually, the gift was not in the trunk. The gift was the car.
“I had the entire brake system re-done,” Grampa Axel told us. “It cost me $2,000.” He wouldn’t give his grandson an unsafe car.
Brandon has just applied for his driver’s licence and has an “N”. Unlike most youths his age, he now possesses 2 cars. The other car is a 1981 Camero, given to him by Mike, the next door neighbour. He apparently is a magnet for cars. Or maybe it’s just that people like him and want to do something that will make him happy.
Brandon and his dad have devoted several months to restoring the Camero. It definitely isn’t in the extraordinary condition of the Chrysler. Mike has a gregarious, over powering personality that leans more to fast driving, with little attention to the vehicle’s upkeep. Both cars have powerful engines. Fortunately Brandon has demonstrated exceptionally sound judgment to this time. Although some friends will likely attempt to persuade him to speed or engage in other foolishness with his cars, Linda and I feel he is strong enough to resist much of this.
The Chrysler is monstrously large, not the type of car a young man would readily choose. I sensed though that Brandon understands the depth of this gesture by Grampa Axel. He knows his grandfather has long prized the Chrysler, and that for him it is no ordinary car. I observed them talking and saw Brandon several times put an arm around Grampa Axel.
He understands that in Grampa Axel’s mind, the car is like a precious heirloom. He is passing it on to a responsible member of a younger generation, in the hope it will continue to be cared for and preserved. He knows, of course, that it won’t be stored in a garage. No, he hopes Brandon will drive the car and enjoy it. The Chrysler is a gift given with a lot of forethought and a great measure of love.