When I was a senior(1968)at Azusa High School, I bought a White 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne from my Dad. I loved the “Three-on-a-Tree shifter,” and it’s economical V-6 engine. It had plenty of power, but it was no muscle car.
I took it out-of-state several times, and put a lot of miles on it before going into the Army in 1969. When I came home from Vietnam in 1970, the car was up on blocks and the tires were gone. I had left it at my Mom and Dad’s house. My Dad let my cousin (who had been kicked out of his house) use it, and stay with them so he could get a job and find a place of his own.
He did a job alright. Blew about every gasket the car had and fried the engine! It only took him about a year, while I was tromping around in the jungles of Vietnam to accomplish this act of destruction.
I was so glad to be back in the good ol USA I never got mad at him, and wrote it off. I’d learned a few things about prioritization in my young life and understood it wasn’t worth getting mad over.
He is no longer alive, and I’m glad that I reacted the way I did when I saw my car on those concrete blocks and knew he was the culprit. He went on to become an ordained minister, and had his own church in Oregon.
He did a lot of good, and sometimes told people the story of how he ruined my car and how I didn’t get angry with him. That made me feel good, like maybe I had done at least one thing right when I first came back into civilization.
He died playing basketball with some of the church’s youth. He was a big man, and died of a massive heart attack that dropped him like a tree! I was told he died instantly. Life is full of lessons, and I’m sure there’s many more I’ll learn before checking out for the final time.