Sidewalk Ghosts / Unspoken Things

I arrived around 6pm, the warm light of setting sun glowing on the horizon. Pulling off the street as one of the many vehicles filing into what was clearly a car show, I careful scanned where to park. A tad insecure, and not wanting to bring attention to the faded paint of my Honda not so classic Honda Accord, I settled in the outskirts…

Bob’s Big Boy, an iconic hang out where in 1937 its founder Bob Wian served the very first two-patty hamburger. Now some decades later, and even with the popularity of the stomach exploding delicacy, Bob’s secret sauce and historic atmosphere is still calling the most discerning of hamburger digesters. But every Friday night the two-patty pull falls into the shadows, taking second credit to the roar of turbocharged power, as parking lots fill with cars of every form. From classic restorations to supped-up hot rods, Bob’s asphalt converts to cool car nirvana. A shiny chromed playground where, morphing to impromptu showroom, a blend of automotive enthusiasts mingle–a place I could not resist stopping to seek a stranger-now-friend.

I arrived around 6pm, the warm light of setting sun glowing on the horizon. Pulling off the street as one of the many vehicles filing into what was clearly a car show, I careful scanned where to park. A tad insecure, and not wanting to bring attention to the faded paint of my Honda not so classic Honda Accord, I settled in the outskirts, far away from any of the center spaces which were filling with a host of the most unique cars, trucks and motorcycles. Not that there was anyone directing traffic, but it was obvious there was an unwritten code of entry reserved for the evenings festivities. In such, as the pavement slowly filled, cliques of every kind were forming. Everywhere I looked was perfect paint and automotive brawn, and even though I was just an admirer, even a little intimidated, I loved the place.

I approached several people, engaged in conversation with little success at first. A routine I was becoming wholly familiar with, so I took my hits with a stiff upper lip. Denial one, rejection two, lack of interest three; each expressed in words that I was growing accustomed to hearing. All part of a process that was maturing as a self-mastery that I will simply term: Patience.

With rejection behind me, I decided to focus on browsing, rather than twisting arms for an interview. A shift to little words as, taking in the amazing automobiles and cycles that had settled into their chosen groupings, I wandered. Thirty minutes past, as I stepped up to husband and wife team, Tom and Judith, who in a most organic way, asked me what I was doing. Seemed the forty pounds of camera backpack I was schlepping around caught their interest. I explained the project and with warm and welcoming hearts they accepted to be photographed and interviewed. They even offering to buy me dinner when a Bob’s Big Boy waitress arrives to take parking lot orders. The Bob’s staff where no dummies.

Not wanting to be greedy, and knowing that a Friday night dinner was waiting for me at home, I polity passed. Yet there was no way to sidestep their hospitality as Tom grabbed me a folding chair, “have a seat,” he invited, as within minutes we were bound in neighborly conversation. It felt like I was sitting with long time friends as we compared notes on the pros and cons of being self-employed. Seemed that, just as I, Tom had managed his own business for the majority of his life. But there was much more to our conversation than business commonalities as we diverted to a topic vastly more personal than vocation: The art of understanding and what it takes to be successfully married.

As we chatted, I could see the love and unity between Tom and Judith. Little unspoken things like Tom’s affectionately placing a fork in Judith’s salad, concerned that she would enjoy her meal while it was still fresh; or the unified smiles as they responded to my questions. Then there was the biggest act of chivalry, placing Judith front and center as the spokesperson for the interview. In my eyes an incredibly considerate gesture, evidence of a happy and trusting relationship.

Per their truck, it was a one of a kind as with pride, Tom showed me a scrapbook that documented the history of its restoration. Photos that showed its original heavily rusted state. A $300 purchase he found corroding in a barn. Three years and $130,000 later, what Tom proudly showed was 455 cubic inches of powered eye candy. From bumper to bumper, the truck was perfect.

I’ve always wanted to restore a car of my own. And after chatting with Tom and Judith, I dreamed of a day where I could save enough to fix one up. Now eight years later, I’m nowhere close to swinging anything near to $130K. But I can still dream, can’t I?

“Friendships are important”
“Life is not about money or status”
“Exercise gratitude and patience”
“Appreciate your health”
“Be glad for every day”
“We all put our pants on one leg at a time”

All philosophies bestowed upon me by Tom and Judith that evening.

The sun had set as it became time for me to return home to family. We wrapped our conversation and as I departed Tom wished me this:

“Be Good!

Words that; to this day, are ones we can all take to heart in managing how we each enact our daily decisions and interactions.

Talk tomorrow my good friends,

Richard

Readers, if you are returning, so nice to be with you again. If you are new, looking forward to getting to know you.

To all: please comment, like, and forward. Every engagement goes a long way toward connecting us; as together, we grow a movement that betters the way we view and treat one another.

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