Life Happens In Cars

The hunt. Stalking prey. Searching every nook and crannie. It’s out there. It will be found.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Chasing Classic Cars” with Wayne Carini or “Overhaulin'” with Chip Foose or a multitude of other gems on the Velocity Channel, you understand this concept of the “chase” as Wayne has so appropriately titled his show. The search for that certain barn find unknown to the public. Chip searching for just the right person, car and circumstance to become the benefactor of the “A-Team’s” handiwork.


Lives and fortunes change because of chance.  If you’re one to believe in chance then maybe Las Vegas is the town for you! Las Vegas was the town for me and over 100,000 friends at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show just a couple of weeks ago.  

     outside LVCC

SEMA is a showcase for after-market add-ons.  If you like to personalize your ride, whatever that means to you, then The SEMA Show is for you. 

If you’re a manufacturer of said parts, SEMA is definitely for you. With over a million square feet of convention space, Las Vegas puts the power into the seller’s hand as they are surrounded by 100,000+ market-specific buyers.  I’ll be showcasing some of the small businesses I found along my journey through the five-mile walk I took each day in posts to come.  For now, back to the searching…

Midway through the week I definitely found myself searching…searching for a reason why.  My youngest brother passed away unexpectedly.  Suddenly SEMA took a back seat to grief and shock.  So many miles away from home and such sad news.  Thank goodness I was staying with a good friend that provided comfort and counsel in my time of need.

My first thoughts went to my memories of him as a kid.  Twelve years separated us as I was the “oops”.  I went to kindergarten and he went to college.  He thought he had the title “youngest” in the bag, but then I came along.  Three other older brothers primed our parents for the “two” youngest.  I find it ironic that just a few weeks ago I wrote a post called “Voices From the Past – Lessons Learned” that included a picture of him and accounts of my interactions with he and the other siblings and my Dad which served to inspire my love of autos. He was on my mind.

Surrounded by cars at SEMA, I naturally reminisced about cars I’d ridden in with him.  One in particular, a 1976 Ford Elite, surfaced.  That car was “discovered” at Parker Ford in Murray, KY during his college days.  It had a monstrous white hood and red vinyl interior.  The bench seat could hold three-four comfortably not to mention the back seat of the coupe. He drove it back and forth from Kentucky to our home in northern IL. 

I remembered riding with him in that car during the summers to his job at Wing Park to pick up the flag-sticks on the golf course.  I would ride in the bed of a small park district pick-up and jump out when we neared the green to grab the stick.  Who cared about mosquito bites.  I was his best girl.  I did have a few rivals for that title most summers as he was quite handsome and popular with the ladies, but he would often bring me along on his dates…usually first or second dates…somehow I got busy for those third and fourths.

The Elite had a long life in our driveway.  He finished school and moved onto other cars as he settled in Rockford, IL.  My Dad took over the Elite and its care.  

After a stint with my VW Rabbit during late high school and community college, I found myself needing wheels as I left for my last two years.  Enter the Elite.  As I drove south to central Illinois I wondered if it knew the way.  I didn’t go all the way to Kentucky, but took the familiar Route 47 most of the way to Illinois State University.  

Just as we “find” cars, they also find us, living life, enjoying life, changing times, and marking time inside them.  I’m glad I marked time and grew up with the car of my brother.  Somehow it’s a comfort to know that he and I both lived part of our lives in that Elite.  



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