We really don't understand, until we are much older, how people, events, a lifestyle, influence our future. My Dad has always been an auto mechanic, engine builder and drag racer. From a very young age I've been following in his footsteps at the drag strip and at his shops. Dad can be rather old-fashioned, even chauvinistic at times, so my knowledge of auto mechanics is limited, he didn't spend much time teaching me those things. Instead, I was always tasked with the "girl" duties of bookkeeping and tending to office matters. By the time I was in junior high I was doing much of the business' bookkeeping functions, turning over the books at the end of the month to the accountants' office. Is it any wonder that I became a CPA?
I love drag racing and rarely missed a race. We have traveled all over the country, our family vacations were spent at drag strips. Eventually, I was able to get my own race car, following in the family tradition. My son now drives, the third generation in our family to do so.
For the last almost-twenty years I have spent my Fridays at Dad's shop, doing his accounting work, ordering parts, cleaning cars, loading trailers, whatever it took to keep the race operation running smoothly. As he has aged and slowed down, so, too, has the business. My all-day Fridays became an hour or so after my 5:30 a.m. Pilates class. I loved my mornings at the shop, it was quiet and the smell of grease and oil are like the smells of comfort food to me.
Dad is now 84 and we recently sold the shop building. His last race car was sold a few months ago. Today I cleaned out the office, packing things away for storage and shredding. Dad's lifelong career is winding down. My days of working in the shop are over. I'm finding the whole experience to be bittersweet. The sale of the property has more than insured my parents' financial future but an era has ended for my family.