The gravel crunched beneath our van as we pulled into our Thanksgiving destination, a red wooden house capped by a green hard tennis court and a small brown pond.
The men were standing in the garage holding wine glasses, inspecting what I could only assume to be Dennis’s latest purchase. I jumped out of the car, little sister in tow, and galloped towards them, eager to see the latest acquisition. Giving hugs and hellos as we approached, I saw it: an old green army truck. The front seal of the car had a Jewish star symbol and read, “Dodge Brothers, 1916.”
Dennis had acquired it after someone forwarded him a link on Craigslist, he said. Within 24 hours, a deal had been struck, and the vehicle was on its way from San Francisco to Connecticut. It was one of 1000 of these trucks that had been built for the war; half had gone to France to fight against the Germans, the other half had remained in the states, but the whereabouts of only three remained- Dennis’s garage was one, the other two were museums.
It was not the only army truck in the musty barnlike garage. There was another one, fully restored and polished, yet slightly different (this one could be used for civilian purposes, Dennis explained), from 1917, and another one that was barely a shell of a vehicle, purple and black and metal, but Dennis said he could easily restore it to what it looked like back in 1918.
As the men wandered back into the house, eager to get started in on hot turkey and stuffing (and as the menu would have it, deep-fried oreos), Lily and I stayed, curiously drinking in the cars and firing questions at Dennis about their history and about how he managed to find such cool stuff.
Dennis was all too happy to oblige, showering us with information on the acquisition and restoration of rare antiques.
But soon the cold started to bite, and it was time to go in. Dennis tenderly laid a canvas over his new car, as if he were putting a newborn baby to sleep for the night.
He told me he spent nearly all of his free time searching the internet and flea markets for rare treasures, engrossed in their history and nuances.
“You see, Sam,” he said, “you gotta have something. Your dad has golf, and I have…” he gestured to the myriad antiquities littering the garage, “this.” And with that we headed towards the warmth of the house; towards chestnut soup and marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes.
For each one of us, there is something in our lives that keeps life interesting, something that has the capacity to grow and expand, to engage our interest, to stimulate the reaches of our brains that constantly ache for excitement.
For some people, it is their jobs, for others, it is a hobby, a passion, an escape. Dennis reminded me of how different people’s passions may be; to him, it is searching for and restoring Dodge Brothers World War I army trucks, to my dad, it is decreasing his handicap by another point, and to someone else, it might be mastering the art of making crème brulee.
No one is less important to the other; what is important is that they are there, keeping us bright when times get tough; personal adventures and gratifications in a world where our lives are anything but personal, stickily intertwined with the lives of others.
So on this Thanksgiving, thank yourself for knowing what your passion is and letting yourself engage in it, and if you don’t know, go find it.
If you have a moment, leave a comment on what it is that is your passion, that keeps you going everyday. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Find someone who shares your passion now on Meezoog.