Today, looking back and learning about all that happened is bitter sweet. My dad is no longer with us. He died in 2002. Figures he would have to die before all this notoriety. Isn’t that always the way?!

I was so young for much of the ‘racing days’ although I remember the intensity of the times. How could you not?!

My father was always working on projects. He would come home late, smelling of one car fluid or another. Black dirt and grease were permanently imbedded in his fingernails and skin. He would scrub and scrub, using brushes and specialized soap... he would wash when he left the shop and then again when he walked into the house.... the dirt liked ‘its’ new home and refused to leave. It was as if ‘it’ knew this was where ‘it’ was supposed to be.

His shoes had the same issue. Although black to begin with, they were further covered - veneered, if you will, with the darkness of an engines ‘blood’. These shoes were his chariots. They carried him through his daily activities. Clearly they earned their keep.

All I have left are my memories. I try to hold dear the physical objects without letting them own me... difficult... Sentimentalities can be binding.

I still live in the same house. I look around at the windows and remember back when I was a child. Funny the things that prompt a memory....

Each day at a particular time, my sisters and I would get excited. This time? Dinner time. A distinctive sound marked the event. The three of us could feel the anticipation. We started running from window to window to look and see. ‘Is he there?’ ‘Can you see him?’ The sound got stronger and stronger. Louder and louder. Now my mother was looking out the window to see as well. Only she felt no need to press her face to the window pane for a better view.

The sound of Dad’s car engine was distinctive.... beefy, full, robust... not like most other cars. His car seemed to own the road... the apodeme of a muscle car. Even as young girls, ones with no mechanical expertise, we could tell his engine over all others. ‘He’s home! Daddy’s home!’ We jumped for joy, running from window to window.

We loved to eat dinner together, especially when Dad was part of this event.

Somehow, my mother had dinner prepared at the same allotted time each evening.... Now, being a mother myself, I am in awe of how she accomplished this task. I for the life of me can’t seem to choreograph the same. And I only have two children... but she did it.

How ironic this man - the MAN’s man - was blessed with three daughters. Somehow having a son would have rounded out the picture. But I guess God has a sense of humor... doesn’t she. My father had to contend with a serious imbalance of hormones in his castle. We were no match. He had enough of his own hormones racing through his veins to stay ‘safe.’ He was happy with his daughters.

Dad was home for dinnertime... and the three of us would duly bombard him at the side door. He always entered the house thru the side door, especially if it was after a day at work. He’d rest his foot on the step, untiing his shoes. We weren’t allowed to touch him until he got cleaned up. Boy, did he smell! I never understood how he could stand himself. Oils, grease, gas... you name it. He might as well have been dipped in a vat of it.

The shoes came off and waited on the landing by the side door, until the next morning when they were once again donned... like smelly suits of honor.

~ Nancy