Nancy J 1957 Ford Thunderbird 2dr Convertible

Making Smiles

Although I did not realize it at the time, it all began when I was in high school, but it did not begin to come to fruition until 2008. It is funny how our past shapes our futures that way. I never knew that one day I would own antique and special interest cars when I was reading text books and playing helper with the cars, while my oldest brother was learning mechanics.

But there I was in 2008, talking to my husband, when he showed me a 57 Thunderbird he was dreaming about buying. Actually, there were two cars he was drooling over, one red and the other blue. We had recently been told that the surgery he was scheduled to have was no cake walk, (85-90% survival of surgery), and I realized he needed something to keep his spirits up, so I encouraged him to buy one. After much personal debate to buy or not to buy, Tony finally decided on the red one. My dream car, in my dream color too, although I never told him, because I wanted him to decide. But, oh the years I had silently drooled over the red parts car in Richardson during my high school days!

Soon after purchasing the T bird we were fortunate to join the Big D Little Birds. By the time Tony had his surgery I was able to bring pictures of the car, the card sent by the sunshine lady and newsletter to his hospital room. The current Club president, Mo, called almost daily to check on Tony. We were both grateful. After all, a month in the hospital, followed by as much at home was not our idea of fun.

Fun did come with the following years as Tony found a 68 Torino (in the same color and striping as his first new car), the 05 T bird and the 84 Mercedes joined the collection. We made wonderful parades, road trips where the a/c went out and dust covered the 57 before showing hoods up. Tony became a Vice President and planned more trips. We even did a car show the day before he went into ICU. He told me what a good time he had on the way home that day. I do believe he was correct when he said the 57 had added three years to his life. Club members helped to celebrate his life in April of 2011.

As for me, I am glad to have all those memories, the ones I have made since then, and am still making thanks to the support from all of my friends in the Big D Little Birds and other clubs. My doctor tells me to keep the cars. I tell him that I would, even if he did not. One day I will let them go to new owners that I hope will treasure them as I do, but not now. They are my smile makers and I love making people smile. So we go out often, the cars and I.

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