Perhaps it is the degradation of my memory faculties, but I have come to consider life to be a series of interludes, punctuated by powerful memorable moments. My earliest memories jump around considerably between years and have no consistent theme. Being tucked inside my father’s long overcoat at a football match, or breaking my arm at the playground, or singing Beatles songs on the front steps of Grandma’s house, or on family camping trips in a VW Bus. I heard a researcher once explain that the memories which persist are tied to emotions, and I bet he is right. All of those movies where the character’s life flashes before their eyes are never every single moment of life, it is only the significant memorable ones. This may be one of those rare instances where reality, academic research, and Hollywood, are all in alignment.
What does this have to do with the topics usually discussed here? I’m glad you finally asked. The answer is everything. If you’re reading this, you probably have some enthusiasm, some passion, for vintage vehicles. That passion and enthusiasm give rise to strong emotions.
The boundless joy of finding the dented and rusty but period correct headlight bucket.
The swelling pride of winning an award for your treasured beauty at a Concours d’elegance.
The deep sadness and regret of seeing your former pride and joy leave with a new owner so that you could fund some other priority.
The elation of having a vehicle roar to life for the first time after perhaps decades of hibernation.
Sunrise in the Cascades. Magnificent views in all directions. A remote campsite. It is cold, and there is condensation on the windshield. Only the sounds of nature which somehow enhance the solitude. I am still so as not to add any of my own sounds. At that moment, the world is perfect.
Late at night on a twisty two-lane highway in North Carolina. Traveling at speed on an unfamiliar road. Dancing in flowing harmony along with a ribbon that is unfolding at the limits of your headlights. Magic.
Having your entire wiper arm fly off at 70 mph in torrential rain on I-95. Suddenly, you are completely blind.
Zooming along in a tuck trying to cheat the wind at 65 mph on the R50/2 beside a BSA doing the same. We are both laughing hysterically as neither can outpace the other.
Creating a vortex of fall leaves behind you.
Discovering significant rust in the longitudinals of your bargain dream car.
Sitting at a cafe far from home admiring the 40+-year-old vehicle that got you there. Deep satisfaction.
Being on the road at daybreak.
The beauty of the moments mentioned and countless others that come from a love of vintage vehicles is that these moments are potentially repeatable. You can be on the road tomorrow at daybreak, or seek that elusive part at the next swap meet. You can go for a long ride, or enter a Concours. You can of course repeat other life moments like the birth of a child, but they usually have significant consequences 😉
Perhaps then, that is the allure of our passion. It is an opportunity to repeatedly generate positive emotional interactions and to make life more memorable. Here’s to your own moments…..