Monday, June 01, 2015

The 'Bird flies again

A few weeks ago I was down one Duffy man, but another came in his place. Sean was out of town on business, but his dad, Chuck, was here – he’d come up to do a major repair job on the Firebird. And when I say he came to do a major repair, I mean a MAJOR repair.

In the fall Amy rear-ended a much larger car; the front end of the Firebird slid up under the other car and that did quite a number on our ‘Bird. (Note to parents of teen drivers: if they tell you the breaks aren’t as good as they used to be, please believe them.) The estimates to fix it were in the $6000 range.

Hey – guess what? We have two kids in college! We don’t have an extra $600, much less $6,000. So we had the car towed back here, and it’s been in our garage ever since.

Any normal person would have totaled it and moved on. But the Duffy’s aren’t normal when it comes to four-wheel members of the family. Sean loves that car. He bought it new in 1990 – we went on many dates in that red two-door with the T-tops. Sean’s dad drove it for a while, then other family members took turns behind the wheel.

Several years ago, Sean’s dad got it back, completely rehabbed it, and gave it to Amy. She’s driven it ever since, and was so upset by the accident. She couldn’t bring herself to tell her Grandpa – but when we told him, all he cared about was that Amy was okay. He said accidents happen, and promptly embarked on a journey to repair the ‘Bird.

He visited junk yards and pull-a-part places and bought parts on eBay. Then he loaded up his van with all his parts, drove up here and spent a week making the old car new again.

I cannot adequately explain how amazing what he did was. Just look at these pictures:

Showing Amy the progress - look at his shirt: "Still plays with cars"

The man took a nearly-demolished, non-running car, put it back together and made it run again. In one week. In our garage. With his own regular tools. He is a genius.

Did I mention he’s not a trained mechanic? He’s an accountant!

He was a wonderful example of hard work and dedication – since watching him that week I’ve had to re-examine how I spend my time. Look up “hard work” in the dictionary and there will be a picture of my father-in-law.

There’s really no way to adequately thank him for making the ‘Bird fly again. He saved us who knows how much money, but beyond that, he showed us what it looks like to give of yourself, to stick to something, to work diligently and consistently until the job is done. That example is priceless these days.

Thanks so much, Chuck, for fixing the car and for being such great company. We love you!