In January of 1972, I bought my first car- I paid the outrageous sum of $500 for a 1965 Mustang drop top with a 289. Naturally, I wanted to dive right in and tinker.
My dad was a precision machinist, and he had all of the coolest tools. Being a kid of 17, I didn't realize a couple of things. First, these were not cheap tools. Second, a guy who makes his living with tools is pretty possessive of them and doesn't much appreciate anybody borrowing them, especially a teenage monkey who isn't too fastidious about cleaning them and putting them away properly.
So, comes Christmas of 1972. There was a box under the tree that was pretty heavy, and it had my name on it. Inside the box was a brand new set of Craftsman tools. WOW! A great starter set of sockets, wrenches, ratchets, extensions, drivers, and a nice steel hip roof tool box to hold them all. I was truly overwhelmed. True to the old man's nature, when I started to thank him, he growled "Those are yours. Merry Christmas. Now-- LEAVE MY TOOLS ALONE!!"
That's been over 40 years ago. The old man is gone now. But his legacy lives on. Those Craftsman tools occupy a hallowed place in my big roll around tool chest and they still get used almost daily in my hot rod shop. I even still have the original hip roof box, complete with the Edelbrock and Bardahl decals from 1972, and I use it to take those marvelous tools with me to car shows and drag race events. Everything has the patina of 42 years of use, with the fine scratches, scuff marks and dulled finish from clutch changes, engine removals, spring replacements, brake overhauls and innumerable oil changes. The chrome on the sockets may be dull, but the memory of the best Christmas and the best dad ever shines bright and sweet even now. Those tools were the gift of a lifetime, and I think of the old man every time I grab one of those wrenches.