A few days ago my son, Will, arrived home from college for the summer. We were on the driveway to greet him as he drove up. That evening I stood looking out over the driveway and thought of all the memories that were created in this very spot. We have lived here for 27 years so there are a lot of memories.
The first memories are when Jennifer and I moved into the house in the spring of 1990. I had a 1988 GMC S15 pickup which is a small truck. It took us several trips with that truck and her small Pontiac car to bring all of our belongings from our townhouse in Clear Lake. I can still see the two vehicles in the driveway as we moved everything into our new house.
July 1991 I recall Jennifer leaning against the fence on the driveway as I backed the car out of the garage. She had just gone into labor with Will. I can still see her there waiting for the car to be on the driveway. Same thing happened in May 1993 when she went into labor with Allison. The day I married Jennifer was the best day of my life; that is until these two days when Will and Allison were born. Life could not get much better than this. When we brought both Will and Allison home, we brought them in the front door so the driveway was not part of those memories.
In July 2011 I woke up in terrible pain. Jennifer took me to the emergency room where we found out that I had a kidney stone in my right kidney and a mass on my left kidney. I had never had a stone before or since so I consider that painful stone as a gift from God. Because of that stone we found the cancer early enough that it was dealt with before it spread. I go back to MD Anderson every year for follow up visits to make sure the cancer has not returned. I am always glad to see that driveway when I get back home. There have been countless times when Jennifer took me to procedures and surgeries, then brought me back home to that driveway. My most recent “adventure” was cataract surgery. I told Jennifer that “I owe her big time” for taking such good care of me.
Then there are the bittersweet times of driving our old cars out of the driveway to trade in for a newer car. All of us get really attached to our cars for some reason. We even name them. We recently drove our 14 year old GMC Safari van that was our trusted ride we called Silver Flame away to trade in for a much needed newer vehicle. The sadness of driving it away was soon over ridden by the excitement of bringing home a newer ride. The GMC Acadia has been named Archie.
One of my favorite pastimes is working on cars and engines. I have several “projects” as well as our daily drivers I park in the garage every night. The first project car is my 1978 Corvette. After the garage was expanded and driveway replaced in 2002, I started taking the Corvette apart for a total rebuild. I don’t have a lot of extra money so the projects are slow going. The Corvette is now about half way finished. I spend a lot of time working on my projects on the driveway. The driveway had to be expanded again in 2007 to include parking space on the side of the garage. The 1953 Chevy Wagon which has been in my family since 1953 is parked on the side of the garage waiting for her turn to be restored. I also have Will’s first car as a rolling project which is a 1973 VW Super Beetle. I also have two Honda Trail 70s, one is a 1970 and the other is a 1974. I love working on and riding the 1974 bike which always starts out from the driveway. I hope to get the 1970 bike ready to ride soon so I can ride with someone else.
When Allison was a student at Baylor in 2012, she was involved in a wreck on her way home one Spring Break. Her 1997 Jeep Cherokee who we affectionately call Kermit looked really bad when we first saw him. From March to May I worked endlessly to bring Kermit back to life on the driveway. I bought another Cherokee that had been rolled for a lot of mechanical parts I needed. That 1999 parts Jeep became known as Chili Pepper since it was red. I also got a lot of body parts off a 1998 Cherokee at Pick A Part that had the identical color and pin striping which I ended up naming K2 (Kermit 2). I only saw that Jeep for two days as I stripped it of body parts yet I gave it a name. Since I could not be there to prevent Allison from the wreck, at least I could give her Kermit back to her.
Will drives a 2006 Mini Cooper S. I keep it in running condition which for me is a challenge sometimes. All of my experience is with rear wheel drive vehicles and the Mini is front wheel drive. I am a member of a good group of folks on an online forum for Mini Coopers so I have a great resource of information. It looks like I will be spending sometime in the next few months on the driveway replacing the clutch in the Mini so it is almost time to log back into the forum.
The many times Will and Allison leave that driveway to go back to school they always return to that same driveway when they return home. I was out there to greet Allison as she returned for the final time from Baylor after her graduation. Lord willing, I will be out there to greet Will back home next year as he returns from Baylor after his graduation.