An Old Marine
When Lisa, a director at a healthcare charity in Florida, switched the page on the calendar in her kitchen, she noticed that Father’s day was just around the corner. Father’s Day always excited her – not only because it was an opportunity to demonstrate her love for her old man, but also because she loved watching his reactions.
It was always a challenge to get Bob to open up. The 80-year-old former marine was a tough customer, and wasn’t used to sharing his emotions. Lisa decided that this year, she was going to do something extra special.
Generic Won’t Do
She began to think about what she could do, running through all the options in her mind. Father’s Day advertisements were everywhere – golf accessories, shaving sets, vintage whiskey – but none of them seemed personal enough for her dad. Of course, she knew that he would appreciate any gift that she got him, and in fact just a visit from the family would be more than enough to satisfy him.
But Lisa always liked to go above and beyond for her dad – partly because she liked the challenge of trying to get him to show some emotion. She didn’t always succeed.
That is not to say that Bob didn’t love his family – they were the most important things in the world to him. And Lisa most of all. You’re not supposed to have favorites, but she had always been his little princess, and the fact that she was grown and had her own family hadn’t changed this at all.
Bob doted on his grand-kids. When Lisa’s first son had been born, he’d come to the hospital to meet the baby. While holding him, Lisa thought that she had seen a slight moistening of her father’s eyes, but he quickly hid it away.
Lisa decided that this year, she was going to get him to break. The year before, she’d been so busy at work that she had almost forgotten about Father’s Day, and had bought him something from the mall at the last minute.
He had seemed happy with the set of wine glasses – he made all the right noises anyway – but it had played on her mind ever since. This year, she was going to outdo herself. But she’d need the help of the rest of the family to pull it off.
Fast And Furious
One thing that Lisa had inherited from her dad was a love of fast cars. Over the years he had owned a number of beautiful vehicles, although never more than one at a time of course. Lisa remembered how hard it always was when the time came to get a new car. Separating from the old one was like losing a member of the family.
She remembered one time when she was only seven years old, and her dad had traded the family car for a new one. She’d watched the new buyer take the keys and drive off and had sobbed!
When One Door Closes
Her dad had comforted her and explained that life is all about journeys – it’s sad when one ends, but a new one always begins from there. She hadn’t understood at the time, but she did come to love the new car in the end. And she always remembered that day, and the lesson she’d learned.
Whenever she’d been sad about closing one door, she remembered her father’s words on that day long ago, and she’d feel better.
Riding Along In My Automobile
When Lisa was young, he’d take her out for drives that would last for hours. They didn’t have anywhere in particular to go, he just loved to drive fast, and Lisa loved it too. They’d shooting down the highway with the sunroof down, and Lisa loved watching the world zip by, the wind bracing against her face.
She’d look over at her dad, who would be concentrating on the road with a small smile on his lips, and she would feel content.
One car that Lisa’s dad had never owned was a Corvette. The Corvette is an all-American sports car, manufactured by Chevrolet. The first Corvette was produced in the 1950s, and they have been on the market ever since.
The model has undergone many renewals, but always retains a unique, streamlined look, which makes them recognizable even to people who don’t know anything about cars. Lisa knew that her dad had always wanted one, but couldn’t ever afford it. Now, in his old age, he had seemingly put it down to one of life’s regrets and moved on.
All Coming Back
Lisa knew what she wanted to do for her dad. She decided to buy him a Corvette. She remembered her first car – a Camaro – which she bought when she was 18. She had worked as a waitress for two years, diligently saving money to buy this vehicle, but that hadn’t been enough – her dad had stepped in and paid off what remained.
She had never forgotten that car, or that without her dad she’d never have been able to buy it. The thought that she could now return the favor gave her a huge sense of satisfaction.
But which model should she buy? A new one? That didn’t seem right. After all, her dad wanted a Corvette when he was still a young man in the 1960s, and many people believe that the 1960s Corvettes are the most beautiful of them all – and Lisa was born in 1966.
The decision was made. 1966 models were second-generation Corvettes with that sleek, classic look. They had been hugely popular at the time, with almost 30,000 sold. Lisa’s dad had not been one of the lucky owners, but that was about to change.
Looking For Treasure
The first thing was to find a Corvette. She did a search online and found a vintage car dealer with the right model – but the price made her gasp. She couldn’t afford that on her own. She made some phone calls to family members, and explained her plan.
As she suspected, they were all happy to help – not only with the money, but also with her plan to surprise her dad! It would take some planning, but she thought that it’d be worth it.
Into The Showroom
You see, Lisa had decided that it wouldn’t be enough to simply drive over to his house and present him with a set of keys. She wanted to go for maximum emotional impact! She collected the money from her family members, and drove to the dealership with her husband.
When she saw the car in the showroom, red and gleaming in the light, it took her breath away. It really was a beautiful piece of engineering.
The Driving Seat
After the purchase was made, Lisa’s husband asked if he could drive the car back to their home. One look from Lisa was enough to tell him that that wasn’t going to happen!
The husband drove back home in their family car, while Lisa rolled down the Corvette’s sunroof, released the handbrake, and put the car into gear. The engine spluttered. The car was a bit temperamental – it was 50 years old, after all – but after some coaxing, it came alive.
The engine was loud, and the paint made the car shine in the sun like a ruby. She could feel the power of the car beneath her as she powered along the road, and she felt at one with the road.
People in the street stopped to stare as the vintage vehicle thundered past, and Lisa felt a momentary urge to keep the magnificent car for herself!
Hiding The Prize
Before she got home, she had to make a stop at the DMV. She had to register the vehicle in her dad’s name, and she had something very special to pick up – something that she hoped would make even more of an impact on her dad. And then she drove home, put the car in the garage and covered it with a tarp.
The challenge now was making sure that her dad didn’t see it, which was an issue because they lived quite close and he liked to come over for visits.
No Callers Please
For the next couple of weeks, she had to make sure that the family was always busy. It was difficult. At first, she’d made up a lie that one of her kids was sick, but that didn’t help – her dad wanted to bring soup.
She managed to persuade him not to come on that day, but he kept trying, and she had to keep making excuses. She started to get the impression that she was hurting his feelings, which was pretty tough – she just hoped it would be worth it in the end.
The day before Father’s Day, Lisa put her plan into action. She phoned her dad up and told him that they had organized a family photograph in the parking lot of a nearby park. Her dad said that it sounded like a wonderful idea.
She told her brother, Dwayne, to get to their dad’s house and make sure that he took a pre-planned route. Lisa and Dwayne would be in secret communication via text messages the whole time.
Taking The Bait
On Father’s Day, Dwayne sat next to his dad as a drove along the road to the park. He sent a message to one of Lisa’s husband’s friends that they were coming up to a certain exit – where he had been waiting inside the Corvette. He pulled out, and drove along in front of her dad’s car.
Her dad immediately noticed the beautiful car. “Somebody’s got a ‘Vette,” he commented. Dwayne, who was secretly recording, asked him if he’d ever had one. “No!” said the father.
They pulled into the parking lot, where the whole family was waiting. They had all parked up in a line, and there was a professional photographer there to create the pretense.
Parked off to the side was the Corvette. The plan was that Bob would notice the car without any prompting, and walk over to admire it. But it wasn’t going to be so easy.
Open Your Eyes!
Bob was too busy saying hello to everyone, giving them all hugs. Then he picked up his young granddaughter and started talking with her. Lisa was getting frustrated, and secretly signaled for the group to move closer towards the Corvette.
They moved over, but her dad wasn’t taking the bait! She didn’t want to ruin the surprise by telling him that it was there.
Five minutes passed. The photographer was explaining how she wanted the family to pose, and her dad was still talking with the little girl. Lisa was beginning to wonder if she should just point out the car anyway.
But then, finally, her dad broke away from the group and walked over to the shiny red sports car. “Semper fi,” he said, noticing what was written on the license plate. “Could have been mine,” he added. Lisa was happy – things were finally going to plan.
The Secret Is Revealed
Her dad was walked around the car, inspecting it. “It’s got Father’s Day gifts in it,” he commented. This was just too perfect, and Lisa couldn’t hold off anymore.
She walked over to her dad, who was looking at the car with admiring eyes. “It does have Father’s Day gifts in it,” she said. Then she handed him a set of keys. “Happy Father’s day. I love you.”
It took a few seconds for Bob to register what was happening. “What??” he exclaimed. Lisa saw with satisfaction that there were tears in her old man’s eyes. She took his hand and led him around the back to show him the personalized number plate.
It read BOBTFISH – her dad’s nickname. Her dad was in tears. “Why did you do this for me?” he asked. Lisa said: “Because I love you!” Bob replied: “I love you too but I never bought you a ‘Vette!”
“No, but you bought me a Camaro,” replied Lisa, happy that her plan had come off so perfectly. It was then that she showed Bob what she’d put inside the car for him.
There were two baseball caps and two t-shirts with the Corvette logo on them, for him and his wife to wear while they drove around in their new car. Bob was just beside himself with happiness. “You’re so good to me,” he said to Lisa, holding her close.
Off Into The Sunset
And then Bob and his wife got into the car and revved up the engine. They drove off, feeling young again and truly happy. It wasn’t the expensive sports car, or the personalized number plate, or the cute hats for them to wear that made Bob cry.
It was the way that life comes round full circle – years ago he had helped his daughter buy her dream car, and now she had returned the favor.