“Driving” Lessons from Dad and Grandpa

daughter and father with carWith Father’s Day approaching, many of us are thinking about family. I, in particular, am thinking about two people: my dad and my late grandpa.

Growing up, I was always around family and cars. My dad owns an automotive repair shop (first started by my grandpa when he was eighteen), and it’s here where many of my childhood memories took place.

Mom loading my siblings and me up in the car to visit Dad’s shop.

Checking out the latest car he was working on.

Stopping in the office to say hi to Grandpa, who although retired in 1989, was still always at the shop.

I was probably the only kid in the first grade who knew what a Tucker was. Or whose parents spent most of the teacher-parent conferences discussing classic cars (my teacher was a car enthusiast too).

But my dad’s shop is also the place where I have learned so much from my dad and grandpa.

Lesson 1: Family helps each other.

Me and my grandpa
Here’s me and my grandpa. I was very fortunate to have him in my life.

My grandpa was a jokester and a storyteller. He told stories all the time about growing up in the Great Depression, serving in the Navy during World War II, and starting his business back in 1939 straight out of high school.

As he told me, not many jobs were available when he graduated as the economy was still recovering from the depression. So, his dad (my great grandpa) offered to help him start a gas station. It wasn’t what my grandpa wanted to do, he freely admitted. But it was a job, so he took his dad’s help. And with two gas tanks, an old ice cream freezer for a desk, and a cash register made from Velveeta cheese boxes, our family business began. It’s how my grandpa was able to support his family of five through the years. And how my dad, who expanded upon the business, supported his.

Lesson 2: Work hard (and laugh in between).

Half of the time when growing up, I never knew if my dad was being serious or not. He, like my grandpa, has a joking spirit that keeps everyone guessing. (Hint: If my dad says “seriously,” don’t believe him.)

But my dad is also the hardest working person I know. Through the years, I’ve seen how much heart and care he has put into his work along with the compassion he shows others. (He often jokes that his boss, meaning him, never gives him a day off.) He has taught me that there are no shortcuts in doing a job well done. There will be hard decisions in life, but it’s how you handle yourself that matters the most.

And it’s okay to laugh.

Lesson 3: Just go for it.

dad and me in a plane
Here’s a throwback photo of my dad and me sitting in a plane.

My grandpa learned to play the piano at 80 years old. My dad has restored some of the most amazing classic cars. Both my dad and grandpa became licensed pilots alongside each other.

Their “dive in” attitudes have been an inspiration to me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things, from studying abroad to picking up a new hobby. (I am currently the proud maker of eight lopsided pottery bowls.)

They’ve always been supportive of me and the rest of my family, and I know how blessed I am to have such strong role models in my life.

grandpa and dad
My grandpa and dad

This year Father’s Day happens to fall on my dad’s birthday. He was even born on Father’s Day. In fact, when my dad was born, my grandpa joked to my grandma, “Well, you didn’t have to take Father’s Day so seriously.”

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers and all the father figures we are truly blessed to have in our lives.

If you are fans of everything cars like my family, make sure you stop by Lehman’s on Saturday, August 24 for the annual classic car show. Click here for more details.


JennyJenny Smith is the editor of the Country Life Blog and the Digital Content Specialist for Lehman’s. It’s not unusual to find oil lamps, canning jars and freeze-dried food on her desk. She is an avid reader, card maker and dog lover. In fact, she is currently teaching her three-year-old Golden Retriever to not take her shoes. It’s an ongoing battle.

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