The Incalculable Elasticity of Time

Building racecars is not only an art form, but also a desire to build a strong, agile and good looking vehicle that will help a driver go faster than his competition. It seems my entire life I have always wanted to be fast. I ate too fast, I walked too fast, and all those speeding tickets … well, like I said, I just wanted to be fast.

But now while I am in the process of restoring my father’s Model A to hand down to my son, which will hopefully be handed down to one of my grandchildren, I find myself surrounded by a feeling of melancholy. Ironic isn’t it that there was a time I just wanted to go fast, but now I find myself wanting everything to slow down so that hopefully one day I can watch my grandkids go fast. I can remember my father taking me on a trip to Yellowstone Park when I was 14, and I kept asking him, “Dad, are we almost there? Why does time move so slow?” Dad laughed and said, “Just wait, son. One day you will be asking yourself, why does time move so fast?”

So the question is, should I always be fast? Any driver worth his or her salt knows how important it is to go slow if you want to be fast. Now there are times I wish everything would just slow down. I never realized that one day I could possibly get an adrenaline rush from slowing down, but now I do, as I remove each component from my Model A’s engine so I can send it to my engine builder for rebuilding.

Now, as I hold the carburetor, the generator, or the water pump, somehow, I feel my dad’s hands holding them, as he did years ago when he restored this old Model A. For a brief moment in time, there is a connection with him and even my grandfather before him. It is true that I find myself wishing that one day possibly my son or maybe even my grandson might find themselves with those same thoughts. It is a long shot, but it gives me great comfort while pondering the possibilities.

I remember my dad sharing stories about my grandparents’ Model A, and it was those same memories he cherished that led him to buying and restoring this Model A, in which he took my mom for rides in parades, car shows and Model A Club events. Every time I built a racecar, I could imagine it going fast, which is exactly what it was supposed to do. Now I find myself imagining my son or my grandson driving their wives and kids to a parade, or a car show or even a picnic like my folks did so long ago. How I would love to join them and share stories while they create their own memories.

I am learning that slowing down the pace of my life has been invaluable. I have given myself the gift of time. I am able to focus on cherished memories, yes, many of which include being a fast racecar driver, and having done so with cherished friends and family. Now going slow is a luxury that I am incredibly grateful for.

My advice to my racing family is while spending so much time figuring out how to be fast, start learning how to slow down. No, I am not going to suggest you stop and smell the roses. However, I will suggest that you should take time to appreciate the beauty of life. Besides everyone knows there are no roses at a racetrack.

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