The family who run Hoeburg’s Auto Repair in Florence, OR have been there for three generations. Their lobby would fit into any movie from the 50’s, as would the Model T Ford and ’51 Caddy up on their racks. They helped us out by changing the ball joints in the Chevy.
Florence was not a planned stop, but the sounds in the car’s front end, a town with an Italian name, and to be out of the reach of Portland weekend warriors has us sitting in the city’s port and RV park. (sailboats, wi-fi, showers and laundry!)
I can’t say there is anything especially unique about this place. The roar of the Seward highway has been replaced by the distant sound of the Pacific. The strip malls from the 80’s have been replaced by strip malls from the 30’s to 50’s. But, there is a sense of permanence here that only a small town can give.
When I picked up the Chevy and drove away, the sound in the front end that has led us to staying in this sleepy little town for days was still there. I went back to talk to Gil who did the work on the car. He gave me a look, sort of perplexed. He said of course he knew the noise was still there. He started to explain, then stopped and said “You need someone to tell you the car is safe and you don’t have to worry, well…you don’t. I’ve been all through it.” It would have fit the experience if he would have put his hand on my shoulder, although I don’t think Gil does that sort of thing.
I was satisfied with his assessment, and I know I have another 50 years to come back if I have more questions because he’ll still be here. He asked if we were leaving in the morning since the work was done early. I said “No, I think we’ll stay another day. The kids have some room to play.” He added, “Well good, enjoy the rest of your vacation.”
If he only understood our journey was as permanent as his auto shop. Our quest to follow our passions and create meaningful work is not new. I’m sure we will continue to design and redesign our lives a million times before we are gone from this world. And this certainly isn’t a vacation. A vacation is just a little interlude to your “real life.” Right now this is our real life.
Our friend, Craig, perhaps said it best. When we were saying goodbye, he started to say, “Have a nice trip,” but he stopped himself and said instead, “Enjoy your life.”