On The Road With Johnny B ...The Rear View Mirror Of Life
As the ole saying goes "Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy" and my worst Critic. As many of you know been beating myself up again over what I consider past failures and lack of success. I have gone as far as saying my "Life has no history" Looking in the Rear View Mirror of My Life and seeing no Wife, Kids, Happy Home blah blah blah convincing myself that makes me a failure. I guess force feeding myself what society considers a successful life. Hmmmmm what defines a successful life you ask? More on that later.
Despite having had my sack kicked in by the auto parts industry it has brought me a lifetime a loving lifetime friendships. Underpaid salaries, no pension or 401K and mostly good memories. Some bittersweet. Some touching. Some funny. Some sad as you lost good people along the way. As I look in that Rear View Mirror seeing the 100's of faces thru the decades. I see Henry's face who hired me in 1980 to work the counter at the Ole STM Auto Parts in Ronkonkoma. As a starry eyed lad I enjoyed working at what would now be considered an Old School Auto Parts Store. I yearn at times for those days. When you knew all the customers names and spent as much time looking up their parts as listening after you said "How are you doing" A grand memory in My Rear View Mirror.
Perhaps the biggest slideshow in My Rear View Mirror is the faces, places, lifetime and lifetime of adventures from the Old Car Hobby. There is something heartwarming that comes from the stories attached to old cars. From my first old car a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Convertible to now gone buddy Otto The Super Beetle I have sucked up the info and endearing stories like an Electrolux. Nothing in my essence gives me more joy than old quirky cars and even quirkier people.
Back in the Stone Age circa 1983. Before the internet. Before eBay. Before online ordering. You waited for catalogs in the mail and networked to find the asst baubles you needed to restore some old relic. One of my favorite Rear View Mirror memories is my first Car Show and Swap Meet in entered a car in back in 1983. At oddly the Port Jefferson High School Football field. It was the first time I showed my 1949 Chevy Styleline Deluxe. A semi Custom with all kinds of odd period accessories. What do you think the accessory obsession started with Otto?..geezzz. From that day forward my Rear View Mirror would be filled with more faces and wonderful memories. More than my 23 year old brain could fathom at the time.
As some of you know my first Car Crush was a Brown Triumph TR6 when I was teen. I promised myself I would own what Car and Driver called "The Last Of The Hairy Chested British Sports Cars" Decades later I did. A red 1969 TR6 that my Mom found with no plates on a side street. I struck up a deal and drove it home. Ironic how that little English Car would introduce me to more lifetime friends in my Rear View Mirror. Great top down drives and me and my Dad driving it in the Greenport Maritime Parade. One of the last things we did before he got sick. So many adventures in my Rear View Mirror involve my parents. I cherish them all and wouldn't change a moment for a million dollars.
I can't even put into words how many faces and old cars fill my Rear View Mirror after 3 decades of Carlisle Car Shows. Thousands of old vehicles, thousands of memories and a trillion smiles. There is something about that place brings people together. Perhaps I need a bigger Rear View Mirror just for my Carlisle Memories and Family.
Back to the question. What Is A Successful Life? Do I still yearn for a Wife and Kids? Yes. Is that God's plan for me? Only he knows the answer. When I look in my Rear View Mirror and I see all the faces of those I consider Sisters, Brothers and Loved Ones. It warms my heart knowing because of them it has been a successful life indeed.