September 27, 2015

Long run today, I was thinking about Paw Paw.

When JPD got an idea in his head, he would make the idea a reality. Jimmy never owned a car of his own. He decided that he needed a car for himself and his, soon to be, large family. Jimmy wasn’t always a GM guy. At one point in his life, he was a Ford man. He had spied a Ford Fairlane driving down Monroe Street one day, and he knew that he had to have a one of these beauties for his very own. The sleek lines, the functional practicality, the white-wall tires all had conspired to make him a true believer. Four wheels are what he needed to fulfill his dream just a little bit more.

He headed down to the Ford dealership and started to check out the new models. It wasn’t long before the salesman spied this young buyer and figured he could land a sale or send the window shopper on his way. “Can I help you, young man?”

“Yes, thanks. I am interested in a 1956 maroon and tan Ford Fairlane and I am willing to pay $1,900.00 and not a penny more.”

“How you going to pay for that, young fella?”

Cash and financing, sir.

When you have all of your ducks in a row, come back and we’ll talk.

JPD had saved some dough and he figured Pa would co-sign a loan for the rest. He should have asked first because his dad already had a loan for the house and couldn’t afford the extra risk. Jimmy did the next best thing. He asked his boss. For most, we wouldn’t even consider this option but George Sullivan loved JPD. When he got up the nerve to ask, his boss co-signed the financing and Jimmy had his first car. A brand new 1956 Ford Fairlane. He drove his own family and his extended family everywhere they needed to go. Jimmy was on the move. The car became an important part of the family. It took him and his wife to the hospital when babies needed to be born. It took him and his young family to Wisconsin and to Michigan for weekend getaways. The car gave him some freedom to grow. Growth was part of the plan and a close look at this car and I can just imagine that the kids could get lost in the back seat.

One particular plan in 1960 involved a visit to beautiful Paw Paw, Michigan for an extended weekend. Paw Paw is 129 miles from the west side of Chicago just west of Kalamazoo. Pa’s brother had married a woman that had a house there. Uncle Pete had made it up there and needed to be picked up. The babies were very young but the family was getting big. Plans proceeded to visit Paw Paw and George would drive Pa and Jimmy would drive his young wife and their four children. Picnic supplies and food were loaded up and the cars were packed. All that was left was to pack the three older children in the back, they were always swimming in the back seat. They all came down the stairs from the house on Monroe Street and walked to the curb. Where is the car? It was right here not five minutes ago, where did you move it? I didn’t move it, it was right here. Well it’s gone now. Did it get towed? No. Well where is it? It’s gone, maybe somebody took it. The reality hit them, the car had been stolen. Not the Ford, no not the Ford. No Paw Paw? No picnic? No nothing? George said that if the kids were to stack on each other’s lap. They could still go to Paw Paw. The Ford was gone but the spirit was not. All nine of them piled into George’s Chevrolet 2-door sedan and headed to Paw Paw, Michigan.

Long shadows for the long run. Favorite song today, Pride and Joy performed by Stevie Ray Vaughn and Albert King.

One more long run!

One more long run!

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