The Best Part of the Best Day

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The best day is one in which one works hard to accomplish something. The best part of that day is when one sits down to reflect upon the process and the accomplishment with one’s colleagues. My wife, daughter and I recently spent a rainy Saturday moving gravel around. This had been a planned do-nothing day of watching college football, but rain water flooded our horse stalls which makes for unhappy horses. Faced with the decision of whether to work the ground or build an ark, I chose the former. Our daughter picked the stalls, we dug ditches to give the water a path around the stalls and to allow them to drain, I shoveled gravel into a wheel barrow that our daughter transported down to the stalls and then I zip-tied the electrical cord to the metal frame separating the stalls so that the horses wouldn’t step on it. While spending much of the day wading in horse muck may not sound like fun, it was actually quite rewarding. We worked together to solve a problem, got off the couch and had the opportunity to listen to a teenager complain for much of the day.

The best part of this day was having the work completed and knowing that there would be a tangible benefit going forward. We talked about how we could improve the drainage, bring in more gravel and a tractor to perfect what we had done and bring it to a next level. These conversations occurred over wine and cocktails, as such discussions should (our daughter had checked out by this time and was on InstaTok, or whatever app the kids use these days). A meat and cheese plate rounded out the experience.

This phenomenon is why I enjoy the car hobby so much. There are boundless opportunities to accomplish something. Several weekends ago, our daughter and I installed a new stereo in the 1992 Mighty Max. Someone had broken into the truck while it was stored at my work, in an attempt to steal the old worthless aftermarket stereo. They failed to steal the stereo, but they did manage to destroy it and damage the bezel surrounding it along with the heating controls and vents. I purchased a decent stereo with auxiliary input to replace it and then drafted my daughter to help install the stereo.

Daughter had made it through sixteen years on this planet having performed absolutely zero wiring, so I chose crimping as our method of connecting wires. I taught her to strip wires, crimp butt connectors (“butt” connectors amused her to no end), and heat shrink insulation tubing. The butane torch was almost as entertaining as the butt connectors. At the end of the day, the Mighty Max boasted a new stereo with a removable face plate and our daughter had learned a new set of skills that I can exploit the next time I need some under-dash wiring performed. It was a best day, though she left before we could talk up our achievement. I drafted my wife to revel in the day’s achievement over wine and cocktails.

Perhaps the ultimate automotive example of this idea is racing. Wheel to wheel racing on a track in a blast. You are alone in the car taking mental notes and adjusting each lap. The driver learns the tactics of the other racers and it all evolves into an orchestrated chaos, occasionally interrupted by someone careening off the track. After the checkered flag drops, we sit outside of our trailer in the camping chairs and reminisce about the day’s racing, previous races and the steps we will take to improve the car. Our race team is drinking beer and wine, eating snacks, cracking jokes.

Go do something. Have the best part of the best day.

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