Monday, November 14, 2016

The Burnt Camaro...

I've been decluttering again...and I have a tale to tell.

Today I encountered this picture:
This is my dad harvesting parts off my Camaro that got stolen by teenagers one October 1993 evening.  They took it for a joyride and then torched it.  It was found abandoned in a grassy, vacant lot in the heart of Kansas City KS.  While it sat there, the neighbors stole the mag wheels off it's charred remains.  The kid that did this was caught, charged and then spent the next few years slipping in and out of juvenile detention, never paying for his crime.  It took me a year to get a new car and the whole thing was traumatizing to say the least.

That Camaro was my "fun mobile'.  I'd just used most of the money I'd made on a job to get some repairs done, plus new shocks, tires and a radio installed...I'd filled it up with gas and remember looking at it as I went inside thinking, "I love my car".  Anyone who's had a car stolen knows that sick, empty feeling of walking out your door to see the oil spot on the ground where your car once was!

The weird part is that I'd had a startling dream that night that woke me up.  I saw a faceless figure standing in the doorway whipping flowy black fabric all about it, and it disappeared into thin air.  I wonder in retrospect if it was my Guardian Angel saying, "Hurry!  Get up!  Look outside!"  Or, it was Batman.  Either way, I felt I was being warned...had I only known.

Nevertheless, every time I get the bug to declutter and start going through papers, I come across all the legal documents surrounding this incident and it rekindles dark feelings.  I've always felt like I couldn't or shouldn't let it go, so I would tuck the papers away only to find them again the next time I decluttered for more emotional rekindling!

Usually they would stop me in my tracks and I would sit and read through each document...reminiscing and wondering what I could have done differently, always wishing I'd kept after this kid to force him to pay the court ordered restitution.

Today, I tore them up and threw them away.  I didn't even shred them, just ripped them up with my hands.  I'm ready to stop chasing my own tail and let it go.  The answer to "why do some people pay their dues, and some seem to always escape?" is obvious...they don't escape justice.  I just may never see it happen, but God evens things out in the end.

I scanned this picture of my dad to save because although it does remind me of the incident, it's more that it shows him doing one of the things he did best...recycling!  Also, I'm reminded of how hard he would work for people and a cause dear to him.

When the car went missing, the police had no answers and obviously weren't looking too hard for the car.  Three days after it was stolen I got a phone call saying it had been burned and was taken to an impound lot.  My dad started making phone calls and found out where the car was retrieved from and went door-to-door in this little Kansas City Kansas neighborhood talking to people and getting names and eye witness accounts!

He discovered the name of the kids that stole the car and one neighbor told him that they knew these kids personally and that they were planning more "stolen car bonfires" that very evening.  We passed all of this information to the police.  The next day I got a call from an investigator confirming that the kids did it again, just as we told them, but this time they tracked them down and boy, were they in trouble!!

My dad should have worked for the police department, I'm tellin' ya!  He was not going to let some "punks" do his daughter wrong, and even though he couldn't fix THIS car for me (ha!) he sure wasn't going to stand for what happened next.

Dad called the impound lot to inquire about the Camaro and the owner "copped an attitude" with him and tried to convince him that the car was a complete loss and that we should just leave it there.  That didn't smell right to my dad at all, so he went down to look at it and saw that the engine was perfectly fine.  We paid the nominal fee to get the car and he turned around and sold the engine for $500! And then he took the burnt shell to the scrap yard and made a little more.

Somehow, dad knew this guy was trying to deter us from getting the car because he knew how much the engine was worth.  I'd bet on the "takes one to know one" two-of-a-kind concept...imagine two dueling, industrious men caressing their mustaches while contemplating the dollar value of the heap of junk that lies before them! 

After selling the engine and confirming his suspicions about the impound lot guy, he then threw his head back and laughed with victory and said, "Can't fool a smart Indian!"  That sort of victory always energized him.

A picture that I tore up and did not scan was one of me, covered head to toe in black stuff, sitting on my destroyed car doing the "Rosie the Riveter" was my way of trying to have a good attitude about dealing with the charred remains of my "fun mobile". 

As I declutter these papers and pictures that tether my mind to this unpleasant event and are not beautiful or useful, I know that I'm freeing space up in head and heart for better things.   And as I go about this task, I've found that it's necessary to take some friends with me...those who have done this before.  Here are The Minimalists talking about Sentimental items.