Cruising 101

With the cancellation of Brooking’s 26th Annual Azalea Festival Car Show due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Leslie Wilkinson had a late-night idea for a replacement.

So she reached out to her friends in the local car clubs, starting with Jim and Kathy Haggerty of the Curry County Cruisers.
The idea went out via social media and before you knew it, the unsanctioned event was blooming.

Rich Wilson of the Better Car Shows team (Southern Oregon Rod and Custom Show) contacted me and we set our goal to motor on over to show support for the cause.

The weather could not have been better if you had placed your order weeks in advance.

A day of smiling faces of grateful participants and hoards of general public members lining the street, sidewalks and lawns to watch and wave as 110 vehicles cruised by.

From the very moment of releasing the drivers from the Brookings staging area by blocking hwy 101 long enough to get everyone out in one forward parade motion, to the final resting place in Crescent City, there was no political agenda or law enforcement interference, just fun for all that understood the purpose of being calm and honoring Memorial Day.
The event collected $1,120 dollars and about 300 food items for local food banks from the folks that drove the route through city streets and assorted rest home parking lots.

For my co-pilot and myself, we joined the cause coming from Roseburg Oregon and traveling more than 300 miles over the trip duration without hesitation, staying overnight in Crescent City and talking about the fun of the cruise on the way home in the morning. I mean to tell you, it was a pleasure to not be home doing chores or watching the TV.
Thanks to all that participated and to Leslie for the insight to ignite the day!

One of One

It began as a dune buggy class. When the track operator eliminated the road course and insisted everyone race on the quarter mile dirt oval, it called for a new vehicle. Established chassis builder Jim Belfiore produced a dozen frames and sold them for $800 apiece. One of his creations powered by a four cylinder Datsun mounted up front captured the 1983 track championship.

Energetic racer Bruce Kranak, never one to follow the crowd, had a different idea. He owned a Volkswagen performance shop in San Jose so his choice of power plant was no surprise. What was unique was the configuration. Whereas Belfiore had opted for the traditional Sprint Car layout, Kranak flip-flopped the major components. He positioned the fuel tank in front of the driver and tucked a hot rodded Rabbit engine up under the tail. It remains to my knowledge, the only upright rear engined Sprint Car ever built. It was truly “One of One”.

There was a mad thrash to complete the car in time for the early May season opener. The fiberglass skin was unpainted and the chassis was bare metal but the car was fast! Kranak bowed out before the checkered flag fell but emerged from the cockpit ecstatic- He knew that he had a potential winner. Throughout June research and development continued and Kranak put together a string of top five finishes. Finally on the first of August after a race long battle with a pair of Belfiore cars, Kranak achieved his first win. It had to be a gratifying moment and rewarded the team’s outside-the-box thinking. Throughout the remainder of the season, Kranak either finished third or fell out. (I recall an issue with universal joint failure- This situation was remedied when the team installed u-joints procured from an Indycar manufacturer.) In the final points tally Kranak was ranked fifth overall.

When the 1985 season rolled around the team was loaded for bear and Kranak captured the Opener. After placing second twice more in May he won his third feature with the car on June 21st, taking over the points lead for the division. In spite of a couple more top five finishes, Kranak lost the lead when he took his family on vacation in late July. Then at the final points meet of the season, the likeable veteran wheel hopped another competitor and struck the cement retaining wall upside down. The roll cage of the unique race car was crushed in the accident and Kranak was extracted complaining of neck pain. He was stabilized and transferred to a local hospital where his injury was diagnosed as a broken neck. Sadly the crash ended Kranak’s racing career and the wrecked racecar was set aside.

During the off season Kranak made a deal with fellow VW enthusiast/racer Dion LeBeau for the purchase of the car. LeBeau rebuilt the roll cage and worked out an arrangement with Kranak wherein the business owner became primary sponsor. Personality-wise Kranak and LeBeau were polar opposites. Whereas Kranak was a loquacious extrovert, LeBeau was sullen and introverted. Nonetheless, he was a capable mechanic and a veteran driver in his own right. LeBeau put together a two car effort that included newcomer John Brumund piloting an older conventional buggy (also Rabbit powered).

At a Sunday April season opener, the new team served notice to all that they were serious competitors for the title by both placing in the top five.
LeBeau won his first feature with the car on Memorial Day weekend 1986. He ran consistently throughout the year and finished second in the point standings. At the end of season 2-day challenge race against the Nevada competitors (Quincy, CA), LeBeau placed fourth. It was second highest of the California based entries.

In 1987 LeBeau announced that the car was for sale but planned to race it until a buyer came calling. Though he captured numerous heat races, he didn’t win another feature that year. Still, a string of consistent placings (ten top fives during the regular season) earned him his first championship. One night in July, fearing his mount had a terminal engine problem, LeBeau switched cars with his teammate Brumund and Brumund became the third different driver to win a feature with the car. When the team made the long tow to Quincy at season’s end, LeBeau led the California contingency with a solid fifth place finish.

Without a potential buyer on line, LeBeau decided the campaign the car himself in 1988 in what turned out to be his home track’s last year of operation. On May 27th he won his second feature with the car and repeat on June 10th, tying Kranak’s record. Unfortunately LeBeau crashed the car heavily a month later and finished the season sixth in the points. In post season action the car was cobbled back together but crashed again on October 15th and couldn’t be repaired in time to make the annual trip to Quincy.

At the conclusion of 1988, a new club for the four cylinder Sprint Cars was formed (SORA) and a traveling schedule assembled. LeBeau chose to participate only in the events relatively close to his San Jose home- two at Antioch Speedway and two at Watsonville. By now his racer had five full seasons of wear plus three grueling crashes in its lifespan. LeBeau qualified fourth fastest at Antioch and finished fourth in the feature but the highlights reel ended there. In 1990 LeBeau kept the car at home.

In 1991 LeBeau made his final appearances with the car. The records show that on July 20th at Antioch LeBeau was scored tenth in the B Main. Five weeks later the car was fifth in one of three Heats, earning a transfer to the feature but likely didn’t take the green flag. After that, I never saw LeBeau or the unique car again.

In a perfect world, Bruce Kranak’s successful brainchild received the ground-up restoration it deserved. With seven feature wins and one championship to its credit, it certainly deserves some recognition.

1970 Mac’s IT Rotax Special — Four Engines, Four Wheel Drive

The Can-Am Racing series was an open comp, run what you brung. There were cars that were very successful such as McLarens and Porsches. Then there were cars that were creative. The AVS Shadow with its tiny tires ran, but always seemed to have problems. The Chaparral 2J, was built with a snowmobile engine connected to a fan to suck the air out from under the car in order to create a vacuum. It ran so well it was banned.

These were cars that the designers and builders thought of outside the box. In that time came Jack Hoare, an ex-Shelby American engine builder and crew worker. Jack raced in the Can-Am series in an older McLaren that was Ford-powered. He thought, “How about lighter with better traction?

How about 4 smaller engines, located at each tire, for better weight distribution and better traction?”

The car is sponsored by Mac’s Super Gross Company manufacturing chemicals, products for automobiles, hand cleaners and other items. That is where the name came from. In the name MAC’S IT, the IT comes from Innovation Racing with Jack Hoare.

The car was built around four two-cylinder, two-cycle 775cc Rotax snowmobile engines producing 110 hp each for a total of 440 hp in a car that weighed approximately 1200 pounds. The four engines have two in the front and two in the rear. With a complicated drivetrain system, centrifugal clutches come off the engine’s driving belts through a variable ratio pulley system. These connect to a modified VW transaxle that provide power to the wheels. The same system on both front and rear engines are connected together by a balance shaft. There were problems with push me, pull you action and trying to get everything synchronized. The car did have some power loss due to the drive system.
Now comes testing, at the Orange County Speedway which is a dragstrip. The team set up cones on the strip to resemble a road course. Just about every time test driver Hiroshi Fushida would accelerate hard the balance shaft would twist and break with a loud bang. They eliminated the balance shaft, so the two front engines and the two rear engines ran separately from each other. This made the car more reliable but still had the synchronization problem.

Off to the races: the Can-Am race at Laguna Seca. With a few practice laps the car stayed together, but it was smokey and noisy, sounding like a herd of chainsaws. Now came time for qualifying. The driver Hiroshi Matsushita recorded a lap at 1 minute 29.4 seconds. That was 18.6 seconds behind the slowest qualifier. The pole-sitter was Vic Elford with a time of 58.8 seconds driving the Chaparral 2J. At that rate, Hiroshi would be lapped by the leader about every three laps. The Mac IT Special did not qualify for the race and, unfortunately, the Mac IT was never to be seen again.

Even though it did not qualify, it just goes to show the ingenuity of people like Jack Hoare that think outside the box. Others that try something different don’t do as well as everyone else and some do far better than expected. Oh, by the way, one car that did far better was the Chaparral 2J , the sucker car that was later banned from racing.

And the Beat Goes On

Greetings GearHeads and GearHeadettes. What a year this has been, eh? By now we would be hitting all kinds of cruise-ins and all kinds of racing would be going on. Except as of press time, there is nothing going on!

So who knows what is coming? I will not even digress.

National collector car day is coming right up—July  10. There won’t be a whole lot happening. Perhaps you could fire up your hot rod for a moment of noise or something?

So I did take notice of a number of pretty cool car events which consisted of people driving their cars and staying in them. Heard there was some big ones. So could drive in theaters be making a comeback?
So did anyone see Jay Leno driving around in a Cybertruck with Elon Musk? They were last seen disappearing down some tunnel.

Oh and now this: Tesla car makes Edmunds Top 10 Muscle Car List! A four-door electric car? My, my—times, they are a changin’  And then there was the new Tesla Roadster. The MuskFather is adding a rocket thruster behind the rear license plate, James Bond style! Sounds like it is going to be the fastest, factory street car on earth!

So I should mention The FarSight Viewers again. Remember… The ones that report on the news before it happens. So, one of their top remote viewers reported on a gunship taking a missile strike. Well, it happened on the Straits of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. I have been there. Yes, not that long ago I was a US Merchant Marine sailing the world. Yes, I was a driver of ships once upon a time.
Anyway, it was a friendly fire incident between 2 Iranian warships conducting war games on May 11. And let me tell you, there were some unhappy Ayatollahs over there. The rest of the remote viewers were all predicting a bunch of rioting. I will say they sure hit that nail on the head, ya think?

Here is something else to think about. This brave new digital world that we are all running towards, head over heels… Cybersecurity is what I often think about – hackers. Anyway, Honda was forced to close a number of their factories around the world recently, due to a ransomware attack. Sounds like genuine cyberwar could be on its way!

So we have mentioned USMA before. They have developed a new hashtag- #TogetherWeRace . Go check it out. You will find their Covid-19 toolkit. They have developed protocols to revitalize Motorsports in such a way as has been done before to revive this nation’s economy.

That’s all folks. Chuck Fasst #GearHeadsWorld

A Race of Two Worlds

The image captured my imagination—a photograph taken on the white, high banking at Monza. A rolling grid of fifties-era Indy roadsters and bringing up the rear was a pair of D-type Jaguars. I was probably ten years old but it was clear to me even then that something was wrong with this picture. How did I know D-types? Because I owned a Matchbox car of one and it was a favorite.

A match race pitting Indy roadsters against European Grand Prix cars had been volleyed about for years. During the summer of 1956, USAC Director of Competition Duane Carter sat down with Italian promoters and hammered out the details. Tire wear was a huge concern as the Firestones being used at Indianapolis weren’t designed for the amount of downforce the roadsters were likely to encounter. As a result, a new tire was developed and Firestone headed to Monza with their test mule and veteran pilot Pat O’Conner. In short order O’Conner was clocked at 170.8 mph, beating World Champion Juan Fangio’s track record by nearly 10 mph!

The news spread like wildfire and soon after the factory Ferrari and Maserati teams withdrew from the event citing that it was “too hazardous”. Germany’s Mercedes Benz and England’s BRM team followed suit and it was starting to look like only American iron would participate. Then two weeks before the event, an entry was filed by the Scottish Ecurie Ecosse Team for three Jaguars. The Jags had finished first and second at LeMans that year and though underpowered in comparison to the roadsters, accepted the challenge.
Tony Bettenhausen broke the one-lap qualifying record in the Novi at 176.826. He was followed by the nine other Indy cars (seven of which shattered Fangio’s record). The Jaguar’s best speed was 151.635- a full twenty miles per hour slower than most of the roadsters so they filed in at the back.

The 500 mile contest was divided into thirds, each of sixty three laps. There was to be an hour break after the first and second segment to allow for servicing of the vehicles. Bettenhausen brought the field around for the green flag and hesitated, expecting the starter to wave it vigorously. In Europe the starter need only “display” the green flag and seeing this Englishman John Fairman pulled his Jaguar out of formation and motored around the stumbling roadsters. He was first to hit the banking and a check of his rearview mirror revealed that no one else was in close pursuit. You can imagine the response of the crowd when the days’ slowest qualifier led the field coming down to the start/finish line.

It took a full lap around the 2.6 mile course for the Offenhauser engines to clear out and the Novi plummeted backward outside the top five. Then the roadsters exploded past Fairman with Eddie Sachs snatching the point followed by Troy Ruttman and Jimmy Bryan. On the second lap Bettenhausen’s Novi awoke, powered by the Jaguar and ran down the leaders. The popular Novi led the third circuit then headed for the pits with a throttle linkage problem. Bettenhausen returned to the action and gave the crowd a thrill before retiring for good with a broken sway bar.

Bryan won the first segment followed by six roadsters and the three Jaguars. During the hour long intermission major repairs were necessary to keep the roadsters in the fray. The Indy cars were bottoming out coming off the parabolic curves- frames were cracked and fuel tanks developed leaks. Meanwhile the Jaguar crews casually swapped tires and topped off their fuel- no repairs were necessary.

Only the Novi failed to make the start of the second segment. The sway bar was replaced but the fuel tank could not be. The rest of the roadsters were cobbled back together and eleven cars took the green flag. Cigar chomping Bryan was again the leader when the checkered flag fell. He was followed by three other roadsters and the Jaguars in fifth through seventh. The other entries fell out with mechanical problems. The drill between the second and third segments was much the same but this time only eight racers made the call. One roadster was late due to the replacement of engine bolts.

The final segment was won by Ruttman but Bryan was second and Johnny Parsons was third. Due to attrition Fairman finished fourth followed by both of his teammates. Bryan (with the sleeves ripped free from his driving suit) was declared the overall winner and received nearly $35,000 for his efforts. Fairman was awarded fourth with the other D-types in fifth and sixth respectively. They didn’t receive much for their days work other than the respect and admiration of their fellow competitors. The Ecurie Ecosse Team was formerly invited to partake in the 1958 Indy 500 but regrettably, they declined

Everything’s Canceled?

I’m told that “June is out” for the local “Beaches” cruise-in that used to happen on Wednesday evenings. Apparently, PIR and Beaches are still hoping that something can happen over this summer but no one knows for sure yet. We will try to keep you posted on this cruise and/or any other car related events going forward. Stay tuned.

Other cancellations.

Many events have already been canceled for the 2020 season. Some organizers are holding out hope and haven’t canceled, but please, please, do your due diligence and try to verify whether any event is actually still going to happen before you make a trip to a venue. I know we all want to get back to normal sooner than later but check before you go, to be certain.

Spontaneous Cruises.

Apparently, according to a friend, there was a “Cruise-In” on Main Street in Vancouver. From what I’ve learned it was kind of spontaneous, via a Facebook announcement from a young man. According to my friend, there were a lot of cars that showed up, and according to an article in the “Columbian,” a lot of garbage was left behind, the cops were there but did not disperse the crowd and no one got in trouble or was arrested. Normally, we car folks don’t make a mess when we hold a cruise-in so I don’t know what that was all about. My friend said it was loud and chaotic, something else that doesn’t usually happen at car events. I hope this nonsense isn’t part of a “new normal.” (Photos by Bob Patterson).

Also, the first cruise-in/car show that usually happens early in May is the Portland Transmission Warehouse Show. Of course, with everything canceled this year so far, this show was not supposed to happen. It turns out about 20 or so car guys showed up at the venue and there was an impromptu event anyway. Not sanctioned or organized by anyone, it just happened.

From John’s Hopkins  Hospital

The following was sent to me from a friend, taken from the interweb, supposedly from John’s Hopkins Hospital. I claim no knowledge of its authenticity or accuracy. It sounds to me though, that it has some good information in it. I decided to print it here for you entertainment only.

Stay Well and Be Safe

This virus is not a living organism. It is a protein molecule (RNA or DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular (eyes), nasal (nose) or buccal mucosa (mouth), changes their genetic code (mutates) and converts into aggressor and multiplier cells. Since the virus is not a living organism, but is a protein molecule, it cannot be killed.  It has to decay on its own.

The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.
The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat and that is the reason why soap or detergent is the best weapon. The foam CUTS THE FAT (that is why you have to scrub for 20 seconds or more, to create lots of foam).

By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down.

HEAT melts fat; this is why it is necessary to use water above 77 degrees for hand washing, laundry and  cleaning surfaces. In addition, hot water makes more foam, making it more effective.

Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ALL FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.

Any solution with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water directly dissolves the protein, breaking it down from the inside.

Oxygenated water increases the effectiveness of soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the virus protein. However, because you have to use it in its pure form, it can damage your skin.

NO BACTERICIDE OR ANTIBIOTIC WILL WORK because the virus is not a living organism like bacteria; antibodies cannot kill what is not alive.

The virus molecules remain very stable at colder temperatures, including air conditioning in houses and cars. They also need moisture and darkness to stay stable. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade the virus faster.

UV LIGHT on any object that may contain the virus breaks down the protein. Be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is protein) in the skin.

The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.

Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.

NO SPIRITS, NOR VODKA, serve. Th
e strongest vodka is only 40% alcohol, and you need a minimum of 65%.
The more confined the space, the higher the concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less.

You have to wash your hands before and after touching any commonly used surfaces such as: mucosa (mouth area) food, locks, knobs, switches, remotes, cell phones, watches, computers, desks etc. and don’t forget when you use the bathroom.

You have to MOISTURIZE YOUR HANDS due to frequent washing. Dry hands have cracks and the molecules can hide in the micro cracks. The thicker the moisturizer, the better.

Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide there.

Here We Go Into The Unknown

At press time it is early May and none of us have a clue what things will be like by the time you are reading this. I will say this: All of you might want to take a close look at your financials and assets, as this, the greatest of all Depressions bears down upon us.

I am expecting Dis-Inflation to settle in around us soon. We can probably expect the value of our hot rods and race cars to drop considerably  along with the rest of the cars and trucks. This could develop into a years-long grind!

This country and others have big problems all around this planet. Now, it is time for me to take a spin of my “Way Out Wheel”. Perhaps some of you may have heard of Farsight News.com. These remote viewers report on the news before it happens. For May, one of them is seeing a bunch of pandemonium and destruction in a coastal area. There is a container ship involved. There seems to be a missile involved. And a gunship that is being struck amidships. So, by the time you read this you may know if such an event has taken place somewhere out there in the world.

Now for some more easily understood news from the guys over at Autoline. Did you hear about the couple of carjackers who stabbed the driver stole his phone but failed to get the car? It was a stick shift, and yep… Neither one knew how to drive it.

It’s a weird world out there. More and more of the talking heads are mumbling about a new Cash for Clunkers program. There are too many new cars out there and not enough demand. We must support our new car dealers. Hopefully, Big Brother won’t be coming after your sweet ride.

Too bad about NASCAR driver Kyle Larsen, eh? Those guys have been taking that online eRacing pretty seriously these days. He said a No-No over his radio in the heat of a race. He ended up losing all of his sponsors, his ride with his team and everything! Oh and dig the new NASCAR face masks. They will have officially licensed logos on them. Get ready for it, it’s the new normal.

Now this: the new Mustang Mach e is coming. The car is all electric but it seems it doesn’t look much like a Mustang. Go figure? But then we have the new Mustang Cobra jet 1400. It is all electric to – and damn fast. Try low 8s! And it definitely looks like a Mustang.

Anyway, we are hearing that multiple streams of this nasty virus are emerging. Stay safe all you GearHeads and GearHeadettes.

Pick Up Sticks

I am going on ten years. October would have been my anniversary, but I have had a lot of time to reflect lately. Reflect, re-edit, and rethink what the last ten years of being a motorsports photographer have been like. Doing anything for a decade says something, I guess I must like it. It is strange to think how some of those dominoes falling with what seemed like insignificance have paved the path that I now walk.

The very first inkling was a book. Olympic Portraits by Annie Leibovitz changed the game for me. Seeing a body of work bringing beauty out of sport inspired me greatly. The pages of Sports Illustrated were dynamic, yes, but the same shot on the football field, basketball court, and baseball diamonds became somewhat forgettable next to Leibovitz’s elegant photojournalism. It became less about the sport and more about the people.

Right around that time, I signed up for my first photography class at the local art center. Armed with my dad’s old Canon AV-1, it was the beginning. My first four or five photography classes remained in the darkroom and I learned to see like many of the ‘traditional’ photographers before me. The anxiety of not knowing how the shot will come out and the smell of fixer on my fingers became normal. It was only when my mom bought me a digital camera for Christmas did things take a turn again.
Nikon D3000 in hand and a wobbly zoom lens empowered me to shoot at the local dirt tracks that my dad was racing. Rarely did I photograph the cars because the people were far more interesting to me. Most ignored me for the strange kid trying to be covert in the shadows, but some asked for the photos for their sponsors or own promotion. That attention made me feel like I had a place there.

Midway through high school, my family went to an IndyCar race at Homestead Miami Speedway. It instantly changed everything. Camera in hand, the colors and sleekness of the chassis were unlike anything I had photographed before. At speed, these cars were an incredibly difficult but exhilarating new challenge, especially during the night race. I decided then that was where I was meant to be.

A season or two later my dad got us press passes for an established Northern Californian racing magazine and we set out to cover the IndyCar season finale at Fontana. Entering the media center, those in charge deemed that I looked too young to be an accredited member of the press and we were stripped of our additional access. The weekend consisted of me sneaking into the pit lane and pre-grid to shoot the pictures we needed for the article. I have no regrets. The following seasons I became a regular contributor and shot my first Indy 500 for the same magazine.

Six years ago, I found a home here in Roddin and Racing NW and it has been a good fit. Where other editors and magazines I have shot for along the way have been restrictive, here I have been lucky enough to shoot whatever it is that interests me.

By sheer luck and years of diligent preparation, I met the right person at the right time. He hired me to NBC Sports and I fell into my dream job- traveling the country to cover the IndyCar series.

I can thank both of my parents, had my mom not given me that Nikon for Christmas, or had dad not instilled this passion for racing in me, then my life would look very different right now. I can also credit two very inspiring and supportive art mentors that pushed my boundaries. Between my past cameras and my current Canon 70D, I have shot hundreds of thousands of photos. A large swatch of that have been racing-oriented, but I have learned a great deal from studying other types of portraiture and landscape documentation. Concert photography interests me greatly and shooting for local arts and culture magazines have been a tactful way to stay sharp in the offseason.

Make no mistake, I have sacrificed a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for this endeavor. To this day I am one of the few regular photographers on the circuit under the age of thirty and fewer still, a woman. The way I look has solicited comments and unknowing assumptions about my skill and my commitment. They will never know how much work I have put in to overcome those barriers and refine my craft, but I do this for myself and because I love it. It is where I feel like I belong.

From getting lost in the backwoods of Portland International Raceway to meeting Lady Gaga on the Yard of Bricks at IMS, these ten years have been a colorful blur of opportunities and I can’t be more appreciative. Each event that has built my experience lays atop the last like a jumbled pile. I can try to pull out one defining moment at a time but it is useless because they are stacked haphazardly. In the end, these ten years can be a mess of scattered memories, but I see it as a pile of Pick Up Sticks.

Father’s Day

Maurice Falco woke to the smell of bacon and eggs cooking. Still in bed he nodded approval before actually getting up. He could hear the mower outside and knew one of his 4 sons was mowing his yard. He heard laughter and voices from the driveway and the sound of running water. He nodded for he knew his new Silverado was being washed and detailed.

Falco rose and made his way to the dining room. Peaches was busy preparing breakfast for her man and her boys.  He walked up behind, her kissed her neck then took his chair. He grabbed his I-Phone, clicked on the TV and scanned the channels for the race. His youngest came racing in, “Dad, the Lowe’s truck is here!” Falco stood up to see the truck backing in and the driver exited, opened the back door and began to unload his Father’s Day gift from Peaches and the boys.

“Is it what I think it is?” he asked, even though he had seen the transaction on his bank statement. It was his money that purchased it, but it was what he wanted. Falco walked out his front door and watched as the delivery drivers haul his Fire Magic Echelon Diamond Propane Gas Grill.
“Wow that is something else!” It was his neighbor Kenny Windsor from next door. Falco glanced over and noticed Kenny was out in his driveway detailing his old wagon.

“14 large, Windsor. One of the best ever made. I’ll be firing it up later today to feed my troops and Peaches, you and yours can drop by later if ya want.” Falco paused.  “What is the year of that wagon of yours again?”
“’it’s a ’66 Fairlane Country Squire. I was amazed to find it in Eastern Washington last fall.  It —“

Kenny was cut short as Falco said over him, “I don’t get what you see in those old relics. My Silverado is a sure bet, gets killer mileage and hauls the mail when need be.”

Kenny shrugged, smiled and then said, “Sometimes it’s the little things ya know?” Falco shook his head and turned his attention to his new grill.
Falco was making room on his back porch for his Rolls-Royce of grilles when he heard a splash in his pool followed by a second one. He glanced up to see his twin sons start to battle only to realize they had been bickering and had thrown each other’s I-Pads into the drink. As Falco went to breaking up their fighting he also did a calculation of the cost or replacing the now submerged bits of expensive Apple technology.

“Aye yai, yai yai” he sighed, As Falco lectured his sons he ventured a glance across the fence and saw that Kenny was setting up his bright red Weber grille.  Charcoal? He is still using charcoal? He watched as Kenny fussed with his Weber and noticed Kenny’s sons were both helping their Dad by weeding and mowing.

“Say Windsor, a Weber? Really?” Falco chided his neighbor, Kenny shrugged and called out a reply- “Sometimes it’s the simple things ya know?” Falco shook his head and turned his attention to the circus that was his bunch.

Peaches brought out trays of meats and veggies to be cooked. He cracked a Natural Lite and began to prep the food for everyone. His sons taunted and fought as brothers do. Peaches did her best to control her sons only to infuriate their oldest. And the afternoon took its course. Falco and Peaches got into an argument, his sons acted up and one Natural Lite slid into 5 and his day winded down into one frustration.

He stole a glance over his fence and noticed that Kenny and his sons had quietly had their meal and he was in the sandbox with his sons. Blurry eyed Falco watched as the trio had an open case of Hot Wheels and were busy creating roads. Setting up a garage for some of the cars and just enjoying each other’s time being a family.

He paused and it hit him, it really is about the little things.