In 2012, my dad, Ken Boysen, had his 80th birthday in May. All his life, he recounted stories of having had a couple of "beater" Model A Fords to mess around with as a teenager growing up in Brandon, Florida in the 1940's. He did actually buy a Model A Ford back in the early 1970's with the idea of restoring it, but since it was really more a pile of parts than a full auto, it didn't lend itself to getting started, and Dad was working long hours running his own sheet metal business, so after several years, he sold it.
But he never stopped admiring Model A's, and when he finally did retire at the age of 79, I wanted to make his 80th birthday one that he would never forget. I was able to buy a near-mint-condition 1930 Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe from a man who garaged it just south of Chicago, and had it trailered to my dad's house in Pensacola, Florida, about two months before his birthday. I am a teacher in New York state, so I had a week off for winter break in February 2012, and arranged to fly down to visit my dad for that week, but didn't tell him that it was really to give him the car of his dreams. I arrived on a Sunday morning, and the trailer with the Model A arrived early that evening. I had arranged with the transport company that the driver would call my cell phone to let me know when he was about 30 minutes away from arrival at my dad's address. Dad and I were sitting at his kitchen table when the trailer drove up. "Dad, come out outside and let's see what this truck's doing in your driveway". We went outside, the trailer driver backed up, and let the ramp door down to begin getting the car out. When my dad could finally see what was inside, I turned to him and said, "Dad, for my whole life you've been the greatest dad I could ever imagine, so for your 80th birthday, I'm giving you your gift a couple of months early." All he could say, over and over, was: "What have you done?!? What have you done?!?" He was so happy with that car, and he and my stepmom, Grace, got so much pleasure out of it for the next two years. He would send me photos of the two of them going to car shows or posing with friends with the car.
This past December, David, the other half of my heart, and I drove down to Florida to spend the holiday with my dad, and he taught David how to start the car and showed him some of her quirks. We drove it around Pensacola for over an hour on Christmas morning, and when we returned to the house, my dad came up to us and said, "I want you two to have this car now, so whenever you can make arrangements to trailer her up to New York, she's yours." Needless to say, we were both totally surprised and humbled that he wanted us to have her. We were so excited and began to make shipping arrangements as soon as we returned home after the holidays. What we didn't know was that my dad had begun to have serious health problems and that he was becoming less able to drive or work on the car. We had to wait until winter weather let up before she could be shipped, so we made arrangements for her to be picked up by the hauling company in mid-May 2014.
Just two days before she was due to be picked up, my dad suddenly passed away as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage. We had no idea that this past Christmas was going to be his last Christmas, but I suspect that maybe he had a hunch that it was his last one; perhaps that's why he gave us his beloved car. We contacted the transport company, delayed the pickup for two weeks, and flew down to Florida for the funeral, which was a beautiful event filled with lots of love and family. The Model A is now securely at our home in upstate New York, where she is lovingly driven and worked on by David and me, and admired by so many friends and family here. In a phone conversation with my stepmom Grace a few days ago, she was describing the headstone which she had ordered for my dad's gravesite. It will be double-sided, with his name, birth/death dates, and a written loving tribute from her on it. On one side will be an engraving of a roll of sheet metal, representing his business and his livelihood. On the other side, there will be an engraving of a 1930 Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe.