I have twin daughters. They're both ten now and are the center of my world. But Katie... she's a car girl. When I first started searching Craigslist for a classic of my own, she was the one who had opinions about every option. When I settled on a 1962 Thunderbird coupe, she demanded that she come out to take a look before I laid down the cash. She needed to have approval. I think when she saw the T-Bird, it was love at first sight. Katie was arguably more excited for the purchase than I was! She was all of eight at the time. Calls for insurance were made (to Hagerty, of course), a mechanic's inspection was done (by my Pop) and the car was finally mine. My passenger for that first ride? Yep, it was just Katie. She insisted. Since that afternoon, the front passenger seat has been claimed as her own. I swear she gets visibly annoyed when my wife dares to sit up front on family drives! She's completely possessive of that particular corner. When the wheels were powder coated last summer, I could only carry three out of the shop. She stayed behind to watch over the last one... "That's my wheel, Daddy." And it was. When the white-walls went on the Thunderbird that next weekend, Katie was in the service bay making sure the new shoes were treated right, with particular attention to that same passenger front wheel. She's helped with every oil change (and gets upset if she doesn't get "dirty enough"), replacing broken trim, and installing the baby moon caps all around. My daughters both dress up for local car shows and truly enjoy spending the day with the classics, taking pictures and talking to all the owners. It's Katie though, who watches the Thunderbird like a hawk when spectators get a little too close for her comfort. She's always ready with a cloth to wipe off any spots they might leave behind from peering through the T-Bird's windows. Her diligence has paid off handsomely. She's gone to the podium to accept several of the trophies I've taken home for showing the car. Her smile always stretches wide from ear to ear! Katie's logged more seat time in the Thunderbird than any other person except me. Our favorite drive? It was our very first Woodward Dream Cruise, with the then 2-month old Thunderbird (well, 50 years... and two months to me). She bounced happily in her seat as we cruised, camera hanging out the window snapping away at all the great rides (she got some nice pics, too!). We found a spot to park and watch awhile that August Friday night. Katie answered questions about the car for everyone who came up to take a look. How many eight-year old girls have you seen that can tell someone there's a 390 V-8 under the hood? She did her research... and listened to every word when I'd excitedly talk about my "new car." Later on down Woodward Avenue, as the traffic crawled, Katie and I learned about the Thunderbird's propensity to overheat. I nursed it off the road and into a parking lot. We sat on the side of the boulevard as the T-Bird cooled down, watching all the different old cars cruise by. She wanted to know about them all and had a list of favorites by the end of the night. She was still jabbering away about all she'd seen when we stopped for a late dinner at the local coney island. A few miles from home, exhausted from all the excitement she took in from the front seat of OUR Thunderbird, she fell asleep. Her face was pressed tight against the top of the vinyl door panel, with the window open wide in the summer breeze. I remember looking over and smiling... "This is what it's all about." I'm sure there's many great rides to come in that car, and more when she "buys it from me when she turns sixteen", but it'll be hard to top a perfect evening out on Woodward with my daughter by my side. Life is (that much) better in a classic.