Leadership Blog

The Car That Changed A Life!

Posted on February 20, 2015 | in Leadership & Management | by

Finished with the farm chores Sunday morning, my parents, siblings, and I started the two-hour trip to a family reunion at Uncle Karl’s. Upon arrival, Uncle Karl who was an engineer, took my father and me on a tour of the nearby power plant where he was Plant Manager. I was mesmerized by the hum of the generators, the massive buildings, and the rush of people working. Later we returned to Uncle Karl’s delightful family and house on a hill above the Mississippi River.

After devouring the feast of food, my cousin, Shirley, and her husband, Tom, were giving rides in their new red Corvette, a 1963 Z06 split-window Sting Ray. I was spellbound by that car, but was too shy to ask for a ride. As my elderly grandmother unfolded out of the car with her “Queen Elizabeth” purse, Tom asked if I wanted a ride. My prayers being answered, this high school freshman jumped at the car and the opportunity to experience a special moment in life! Turning onto the highway, Tom “demonstrated” the Corvette’s raw power and handling! The sensation of acceleration and speed was awesome! I remember thinking that this memory could affect me for the rest of my life! The influence would be more profound than I realized.

Returning to the family reunion, I extracted myself from the Corvette as slowly as possible to preserve the moment. Pausing briefly to admire the sleek machine, Uncle Walt interrupted my thoughts of infatuation, “So, what do you think now?”

I responded, “My thoughts, now, are to get a job, house, and family like Uncle Karl’s, and a car like Tom’s! That means I must get the heck off the farm!” While looking at me, my farmer-father exhaled his cigarette, shook his head, and announced is was time to get back to the farm and milk the cows!

But, too late. I was smitten with a dream of another world. I was fortunate that my parents, while preferring me to stay on the farm, were supportive of my aspirations to be like Uncle Karl, dream different, and yes, maybe even get a car like Tom’s and Shirley’s. In time, I was blessed to live the dream! Life on the farm would have been fine, but God designed my life to be “out there.” After living the dream of rewarding jobs, traveling and living around the world, and getting “my dream Corvette,” I now know the car ride was an event that changed my life.

We never know when a life-changing moment will come along. Watch for them and think about the meaning and where it might take you. It might lead to your dream!
However, very aware that I have experienced “the dream” with countless other adventures and blessings, the most meaningful parts of my life remain faith, family, friends, and making a difference. …lessons learned that I pass on to you.

Watch for a life-changing moment, and think about it’s meaning.
…And Pass It On!  


'63 PastThe Car That Changed My Life!   To indulge a bit, Tom and Shirley kept their ’63 Corvette in pristine shape over the years.  Tom eventually sold it for a nice price.  Just three years ago, it was sold again by a subsequent owner at the Mecum Auto Auction for #360,000!

Vette at Uof I cr1A Dream Come True   To indulge even more, pictured is the 1966 Corvette I bought in 1976. It is not in show room shape, so our son, Mark, and I spend more time under it than in it. The ’66 will never be as collectable as Tom’s, but runs like a “dream” and is still part of the dream!

Quote from President Teddy Roosevelt: ”Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”


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