A Father's Love
He loved that car. 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, Nassau blue with white leather interior.
My husband Tim remembers working on it with his dad Robert, first so small he would simply get tools for him, learning each by name, growing to do the work. It was the thing that connected them. Robert could be a difficult man, having been robbed of his career dreams. When his older brother had to leave and fight during World War II, the responsibility to care for his mom and younger brother fell to him, and frustration often brimmed over. Family can be complicated, but riding with the top down, engine humming, everything was simple and beautiful, if even for a short time.
When Tim was a teenager and his parents went out of town, the temptation was too great. He hot wired the Vette and took it out for a drive. A long drive. Robert never would have even known except for the unwitting neighbor, who said “it was so nice of you to let Tim take the car out.” Usually a tough disciplinarian, Robert simply said, “show me how you did it” and laughed with begrudging respect. The shift from boy to man, Father to Son remained almost imperceptible, but it was there.
Time passed, and the Corvette sat under its cover in the garage, falling into disrepair. When Robert was hit with pancreatic cancer, Tim toiled over the car to bring it back to mint condition, pouring money and sweat into making it what it once was. They had to wheel Robert out in a wheelchair, thin and weak, but the pure joy on his face when it roared to life and hit the open air was unforgettable. It would be the last thing that they did together, and the Corvette was the one thing Robert left Tim in his will, a final show of a Father’s love.
Tim sold it. It was a tough decision but that, along with hard earned savings paid for our first Valvoline Instant Oil Change location in Sterling, VA. The beauty and love of that car has become a living, breathing legacy from Father to Son to the next generation. 18 years ago, we chose the Valvoline Instant Oil Change Franchise over many others because of the promise of future development, fairness, honesty, and dedication to excellence. We count on that promise, as do the many people that we employ and have become our extended family, our #vamily. We have sat side by side at funerals, gatherings, and graduations with our people. Weathered the bad, celebrated even the smallest of victories. Made it through the COVID pandemic. Stand side by side to face whatever lies ahead.
Maybe someday we’ll find the Corvette and buy it back. Today, it is enough that it fueled a legacy, as we are poised to open our 8th location and more. And it began with a Father’s love.