“Even though I’m retired, my time’s still highly valuable.”


I know several guys that have car and truck projects lined up for many years to come. You can include me in this group. The clock is ticking and most likely not all of my tasks (or theirs) will be completed. At what point does one stop taking on new ones? I’ll share my perspective on things at the end of this spiel.

In 1991, I attended a seminar where the great Antarctic and Alaskan explorer, Colonel Norman D. Vaughan, spoke about his South Pole experiences with Admiral Richard E. Byrd. He offered up these words of encouragement,

“Dream big and dare to fail!”

Colonel Vaughan was 85 at the time, and I initially thought he was on something. How could anyone at that age still be dreaming about new goals? I was an energetic 37-year-old at this point. Three years later, having just turned 88, the colonel successfully climbed a 10,302 foot mountain in Antarctica named after him, Mt. Vaughan.

These days, not as spry as I was at 65, I find it much easier to talk about what I’m planning to do, rather than actually perform the work. I’ve never broken a sweat doing such. The visionary projects in my head always turn out much better than the real ones anyway.

Glancing around at metal shelving in my garage, I spot several parts and components I’ve held on to for years believing they’ll someday be needed. At least that’s what I tell myself. Maybe if I live to be 100 like Norman Vaughan that’ll become reality. Otherwise, somewhere down the road this stuff will all end up in a dumpster; meaningless junk to those surviving family members given the chore of sifting through.

I’ve sold or given away several items the past few years. I finally deemed them worthless where building hot rods is concerned. A Chevrolet Turbo-400 transmission went to a snowbird in Oregon for $50.00. He called the other morning thanking me and saying it worked like a charm. The transmission would’ve been nice to keep around, but after I scraped my leg on it for perhaps a fifth time, I had enough. Adios!

Craigslist was great for peddling automotive merchandise until things took a covid spiral. A set of chrome valve covers, new oil pan, plus a double-roller timing gear setup for a small block Chevy were the last items I tried to unleash. Asking a mere $20.00 for the lot, this was less than ten percent on what I originally paid.

Several days went by before one fellow called, inquiring if I’d take $5.00 for the timing set alone. The caller lived in Fort Mohave and said he was down and out financially speaking. I told him yes, and we set a date and time. He planned on bumming a ride to Havasu with a friend. My intent was to give him the gears and chain for free plus other goodies once he arrived.

After three phone calls claiming he was on the way, the fellow never showed. Repeated attempts by me to reach him were unsuccessful. Even though I’m retired, my time’s still highly valuable. That wasted 8-hours is worth $16.00. If I had the man’s address, I’d send him a bill. Similar incidents occurred afterwards on trying to sell junk online. Eventually, I gave up.

Hospice of Havasu Resale Store is now my recipient to any worthwhile automotive stuff plus household goods. I’m sure they have plenty of gearheads like myself strolling through searching for this or that part. I venture there quite often, never failing to find a unique shirt. My latest acquisition is a forest green, U.S. Fish & Wildlife tee. This garment draws a lot of attention especially around the lake.

It seems I’ve drifted away from the original thesis of this story. Such happens quite often with my senior friends as well. Getting back to projects, and should I take on more of them?

“The truth is, I’m running out of time, yet that doesn’t stop me!”

That ’32 Ford roadster I’d love to build can be accomplished mentally, without spending a dime or turning a wrench. What I’m referring to is not much different than what I did as a child. Back then, I could dream up things and then put them to paper. Just being able to plan out all the infinite details helped keep my cranial gears turning.

Using this approach, I’ll be able to add project after project to my list regardless of a ticking clock. This strange philosophy goes hand in hand with what financial entrepreneur, Malcolm Forbes, told a group of people,

“When you cease to dream, you cease to live!”

Much like Colonel Norman Vaughan and Malcolm Forbes, I hope to keep on planning, and at the least, dreaming, for many years to come!

’32 Ford Roadster

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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