A lot's been going on for the past couple of weeks here at the ranch. Seems as though there's been a run on checkerboard tops for MINIs. I've installed four diffferent checkerboard tops in the last week.
In the middle of all the work, the KC MINI club got together last Saturday at Sheridan's Custard. Twelve MINIs showed up for some tasty treats and we got to know a handful of new owners and recruits.
And finally, I turned over 15,000 miles this week in the MINI. For those friends who are currently considering a MINI purchase, it's been 15,000 miles of complete and utter fun. I was talking with a friend last week about the typical satisfaction curve of a new car purchase. You know, the amount of satisfaction with a new item starts out high and then quickly drops off leaving one looking for the next "fix" or the next conquest or purchase that will raise that satisfaction level back up, albeit briefly. Well I'm here to say that owning a MINI puts some TNT in that theory and blows the hell out of it. I've said it before and I'm saying it again. In thirteen months of owning a MINI, my satisfaction has not decreased. I would venture to say that it may have even increased. I even thought to myself a year ago that eventually the new would wear off the MINI and it would simply become my means of transportation. That hasn't happened and I don't think I'm the only one. A glance around the web at the weblogs of other MINI owners is a testament to the staying power of these little cars. Not since I first got my driver's license at 16 have I had as much fun running to the store for a gallon of milk.
Yesterday was a sad day. I attended the funeral of my friend and fellow KC MINI Enthusiast Club member Jeff Weaver. He was only 39. Even though Jeff was a picture of health on the outside, a undetectable heart defect caused him to collapse while playing soccer last week. He died of massive heart failure and there was nothing that could have been done.
Knowing of Jeff's enthusiasm for his MINI, his family requested that someone from the MINI club say a few words at the memorial service. The rest of the MINI club folks nominated me to speak. It was hard, but I recounted my memories of becoming Jeff's friend through our shared passion for those fantastic little cars we both liked to spend so much time talking about. I've mentioned Jeff in my weblog before.
Jeff and I went to the Ultimate MINI driving acadamy together on May 2nd of this year. When we heard the event announced early in the spring, Jeff and I exchanged the old "I'll go if you'll go" routine both knowing that it'd be ok if we looked foolish or something. At least we'd be in good company. Well Jeff did just fine and I was the one who ended up in the grass looking foolish. Jeff was the driver immediately behind me when it happened. When we both came in, Jeff claimed he didn't even notice I'd gone off the course. That's the kind of guy he was. Instead of ribbing me about losing control, he encouraged me to get back out there and not to worry about it. No harm was done and we had a great rest of the day on the track.
I'm going to miss my friend. I joked to my wife on the way home last night that I couldn't understand why someone as nice as Jeff would die at 39 years old while there are still assholes walking around everyday. I was being facetious but it still doesn't make any sense to me.
All the time I thought I would have to get to know Jeff better is now gone and I am sorry for that. I will work to not take for granted the friendships I have now because I cherish each and evry one of them.
If you've been visiting here much, you know that my enthusiasm for my MINI is great. It's times like these that make me realize, it's not just the car that I like so much but it's the way my MINI has opened the door to relationships with so many other wonderful people both locally and around the world. There truly is a community built around these funny little machines and I'm glad for the opportunity to be a part of it.
So go hug someone you love today and in the metaphorical words of the late Warren Zevon - enjoy every sandwich.
Jeff's MINI is the Electric Blue one, third from the right.
Everyone has seen the Lance Armstrong Livestrong bracelets. Maybe you're even wearing one right now. Quite a fashion revolution not to mention a representation of a wonderful cause.
How about a MINI fashion revolution with these. No noble cause here. Just a representation of the motoring spirit.
Just a thought...
No, we're not moving to Ohio but I see a vacation to Kings Island, OH in our future for the summer of 2005. The reason, the new Italian Job thrill ride opening at Paramount's King's Island park next year. Follow the link to see the movie clip of what it will look like.
My name is Todd and I'm a MINI-a-holic.