Making a Difference - A Big Heart, a Small Boy, and an MGA Come Together to Form a Perfect Trio

Photo for Making a Difference - A Big Heart, a Small Boy, and an MGA Come Together to Form a Perfect Trio

I don't share this with most people but I am a therapeutic foster parent. I take in kids and help them with emotional and behavioral issues so that they can be adopted. Well, I had a little guy that was something else and I just flat fell in love with him.

He's been gone almost a year now and I wrote this right after he left. The rational part of me knows, and my heart believes, that my "A" has special powers…it made such a difference in a little boy's life. Maybe it's just me and the memories of my dad and my original roadster. All I know is "A"s are special, especially if you have kids of one nature or another with which to share them.

It was a long and mild fall up here in the Great Land and the “A” and I spent days on end cruising every possible street in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, going to car shows and enjoying it all with my foster Bud, the little man in the leather MGA jacket beside me. Simple trips to the grocery store five minutes away ended in excursions to the airport where we would park on the bluff at the end of the runway and watch the planes go over less than 100 feet above. Thursday nights we would fall in line with the 49th State Street Rodders and cruise for a few hours. Bud was quick to point out that the “A” wasn’t like the other cars, but he sure liked the way everyone accepted his special car and him. Weekends with the hood up or down we headed north to Talkeetna or south along the Kenai Peninsula to Homer to visit friends. Long weekends with falling leaves and threatening skies along the mountain roads in any direction were like days spent over the summer on the open road and most days it was easy to pretend it would never end. Fall was mild and long and then one day it was cold and the “A” went into the garage for the winter.

To pass the time, Bud and I put the “A” up on jacks and removed the tires. The rims were sent off to be machined, powder coated, and repainted. When your shoes come back, we tell the “A,” and the snow is gone, you won’t have to stay under 60 mph anymore. You can fly, we tell the “A,” but I’m not sure where that will happen. My little Bud walks around the garage with a towel in his hand looking for smudges on the “A” and checking for new oil spots on the floor. He is obsessed with making sure we have enough oil and that “lead stuff for the tank” and reminds me we will need a lot next summer. I keep looking at the wiring harness, new tag and lamp bracket, hood buffer set, and seat slide on the work bench, but won’t let myself get started on anything just now because it’s so long until May.

Bud wants to know when he will get to be a mechanic and reminds me winter won’t last forever as he rearranges the metric wrench set for the 100th time. I heard him telling the car one day that he would get it something special for Christmas as he adjusted his MGA cap and made sure his sunglasses and gloves were still tucked carefully into the door pocket. Bud is ready to cruise, to hold his hands up in the air, and feel special riding in his special car.

I managed to put enough metal dryer hose together to run from the tailpipe out the small hole I cut in the garage door and I try to start the “A” just once a day. Bud and I start the engine and get comfy and pretend…I think I’ll have a picture of the open road blown up and placed on the inside of the garage door. The “A” is patient, but Bud wants to go, and go now! We sit in the car and play the stereo loud, shift gears, beep the horn, and make up stories about car shows, road trips, and the police behind us. Bud thought putting a fan up so wind would blow in our faces was a good idea, so we did. It worked, and for a short time every evening, we were out on the road laughing and letting the car work its magic.

BudThe day he left for his adoptive home Bud went down and spent time alone with the “A.” When he came up from the garage he had his MGA cap on and his sunglasses around his neck. He walked to the door and turned. He told me he would miss the BSCA shows, to tell Rick thanks for helping him get a hot dog, and not to forget to check the oil. He didn’t pack his leather jacket and I found it later, folded neatly on the passenger seat with his gloves and I cried. I haven’t started the “A” since the day Bud left and our plans to drive south for the summer and visit national parks and have grand adventures in the special car are gone.

Sometimes I go down to the garage and just sit and remember the joy one little blue car brought to a very special little man. Maybe that is the real treasure in having a car like the “A” - the joy it brings others and the difference it can make in a life.

The “A” and I miss you very much Bud. 

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Last updated on January 13, 2014.