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Father-son bonding on trip in ’65 pickup

It was a debate over which vehicle to use when we drove to Iowa for another funeral recently.
It was going to be 90 degrees with high humidity.
I preferred our air conditioned Buick; my son preferred his 1965 Chevy pickup truck. It has no air conditioning other than two windows, two wing vents and hand-operated floor vents.
While I thought it was a no brainer, my son looked at me and said, “You just don’t understand.”
He’s right. I don’t.
The funeral was for a friend of Andrew’s, a mechanic-car collector he befriended years ago in the close-knit, small town of Granville, Iowa, about 3½ hours from Glencoe … one way. Granville is my wife Karen’s hometown and is about the size of Plato.
Terry, an elderly gentleman, happened to own an auto repair shop in Granville. Terry was 79, and Andrew looked at him as a surrogate grandfather, wise in the ways of a motorized vehicle.
Andrew’s friend died from a heart attack while driving to a doctor’s appointment to check on a pacemaker he had received just weeks before. He died the same night day we were in Granville attending the funeral of a brother-in-law, who died unexpectedly at the age of 63.
Andrew took both deaths hard, because both were fellow motor heads … something I am not.
So when he was adamant that we should take his ’65 Chevy pickup to Iowa, I agreed, but with trepidation. After all, the day before he had changed engines in the old truck. It was untested for highway driving.
But off we went. I was along for moral support for my son, because I did not know Terry. But he was important to my son.
I was sure we would break down somewhere between Glencoe and Granville, but we did not. The old truck ran like a top. Outside of making numerous pit stops to “top off the tank” because the gas gauge didn’t work, we made it in good time.
I felt like a pit crew member on a race team. At every stop, my job was to get the smashed bugs removed from the windshield. That was no easy task. At 65 miles an hour, bugs hitting windshields tend to be messy … and embedded.
With open air conditioning, the noise of wind blowing past made conversation difficult. With our duffle bag positioned between us on the seat, the two-foot distance was like talking in the wind tunnel. Apparently he could hear my shouting, but I could not hear him.
I assumed he took after his mother in talking quietly. He thought I was hard of hearing. The judge is still out on that issue.
But we managed to converse by shouting louder, and we made it back to Glencoe, too, in one piece.
It was a father-son bonding time, with a lot of “What?” mixed into the conversation.
I also sunburned my right forearm after having my arm out the window for that many hours on the road.
But that was a small price to pay for being with my son in his time of grief.
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014, but still plans to submit an occasional column.