Old Man Jack, Me and Mustangs

There wasn’t a mean bone in his body – provided you were on his good side.

Old Man Jack was a devoted husband.  His wife Carol was bedridden for the last several years of their life together; without fail, Jack stayed at her side

He would only leave her side to get medicines or their meal in his beloved ’68 Mustang (with a 351 Windsor engine).  And that was one love we shared – Ford Mustangs.

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After she passed, we would go out for weekend breakfasts.

When he wanted to, he would ride in my supercharged ’08 Grabber Orange Mustang.  He loved riding in it.  He loved listening to it.  It was so loud, Jack wouldn’t need his blessed hearing aids – which he often “forgot” to wear.  He hated them.  Trouble was at breakfast, I’d end up having to yell so he could hear me when he “forgot” to wear them.  So could everyone else.  The others must have thought, “Man, what an odd pair.”

That famous boyish grin… I sure miss him.

When I would drive, Old Man Jack –  in his trademark blue plaid shirt – would look at me from his passenger seat, flash that boyish Jack grin where the right side of his lip would be higher than his left, press his head back into the seat, then say, “OK!  Floor it!”  Man, he loved it.  My supercharger would be screaming as we rocketed down Studebaker Road.  He would say in a (much) higher than normal voice, “Whooo-ee!” after hitting 60 mph in a little over four seconds.

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Other times – even at 87 years of age – he would want to drive HIS baby to breakfast…but make me drive mine, too.  You guessed it – we’d drag.

On the way to breakfast, we’d pull up to a light early on a Sunday morning and knowing what was going to happen, I prayed with all my might there were no black and whites.

He’d look at me.  I’d look at him.  He was dead serious but I would never let him see I was grinning from ear to ear.  The light would turn green.  He’d floor it, chirp his tires and I’d let him get almost through the intersection…when I would nail it.  I wasn’t going to let him get that far ahead of me.

I’d blow by him.  As I would wait for him at the next stop, he would pull up next to me knowing he got beat (again), flash me that boyish grin one more time – but would always flash me his trademark bird.  I just missed it this time.  Darn.

After he lost yet another drag race, I just missed photographing Jack flashing his “bird” by a split second…but not his trademark smile.

By the way… I named my last boy after him…  His name is Jack.  I couldn’t think of a better name.

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Jack, I miss our breakfasts.  We should have went more often…  but I gun my motor real loud every time I stop by to see you.  I know you hate your hearing aids.

Resting Place

17 thoughts on “Old Man Jack, Me and Mustangs”

  1. This is a fantastic story. I wish more people got to know their neighbors, became friends, and loved like family. I love him flipping you the bird…classic!!!!

    1. Thank you, Chatter Master. Old man Jack, even after bitterly fighting in the Pacific during WWII, loved my kids and my cooking. He was a good man. Couldn’t think of anyone better to name my son after.

    1. Thank you so much. Although a person can only have one father, I’d like to think he was my second father. I am also hoping he thought of me as an adopted son of sorts. He and his wife of 55 years lost their first son at birth. They named him Steven.

  2. What a beautiful ‘stang! I own one; a 2000 V6 convertible; white with tan top. It was my dream car from an early age: Ford Mustang convertible, 289 under the hood, Cruis-o-matic transmission, red with white interior. Looks like Jack had a good time! I’m glad that you were there for him. I had an “old man”, too – lol, his first name was “Jack”, but we called him Keith. He was the closest thing I ever had to a grandpa. And he was wild, too – same generation, about the same age, Army, WWII. Funny how those old guys had such a wild sense of humor – and kept it – as well as a love of life (well understood after what they’d been through). We took our ‘Jack’ (or Keith Pase – full name in his honor) to Hooters for his 84th birthday – and when the waitresses were hugging him he was grabbing their a**es! LOL! Gotta love those old dudes.

      1. Yes, we were honored to have the “old scoundrel” as we often called him, in our lives – though most of the women couldn’t stand him (“dirty old man” is what they said). I knew him from ’77 until about 2005 (met him through a Lodge, the IOOF, which I joined as a teen to learn about old men – and to figure out how to be happy in my old age). I wonder if such people still exist today; if so, they seem increasingly rare. But to find them I tend to look for the “non-PC” crowd – the ones who don’t care and will speak the truth as they see it, no matter who is standing around. Indeed, we are honored – as I feel you feel you were with Jack and your father; both honorable men caught in the horrors of war.

  3. Koji,
    I can just picture the two of you …. acting up like the youngins you truly are inside. I love the pictures of Jack. Your friendship was … and still is … a very special gift you each generously bestowed on one another. Can’t get much better than that!

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