For a good chunk of his life, my brother-in-law Keith worked two full-time jobs while raising his oldest son in a city about 1,500 miles from his closest relative.
He taught school by day, worked third shift at the Miller Brewing Company and took care of his family both in Milwaukee and back home in Florida.
The man worked hard and, as he taught his students how to reach for their dreams, he achieved a few of his own.
One of those dreams involved a car he first spotted in 1967 while he was still in high school, a Corvette.
“I still think those 1967 Corvettes are the best,” he said.
Eleven years later, he bought his first Corvette, which he traded in for a 1980 model. Then, in 1991, he designed one from scratch, a white on white convertible with a red interior.
His son Traveian, who was four-years old at the time, called that car “the Boat” and loved riding in it so much he started to identify neighborhoods from the treetops and gables he saw as the two drove through them.
Eventually, Traveain outgrew the passenger seat and Keith sold the car to help finance a more suitable handicap-accessible van.
“I knew I wanted another Corvette,” he said. “But I also knew I had to get everyone situated financially before I got my car.”
On Tuesday, Keith’s time for a new Corvette arrived.
He and my sister Kathy flew to Nashville to pick up the rapid blue convertible Corvette he designed. Thanks to a livestream from the National Corvette Museum, our whole extended family was able to follow along.
The resulting text chain was a testament to our love and admiration for Keith and our excitement about that beautiful car.
Our niece Rachel, who is wrapping up her senior year at Indiana, wrote that the sixth grade boys she was student teaching were very impressed.
Our sister in-law Robin called the car a “whip” and then sent those of us who needed it (like me) the definition of that word.
Our cousin Bobby, who quarterbacked the whole thing from his car dealership in North Carolina, fielded our questions as the day rolled on.
Our nephew Michael, who holds dual degrees in Physics and Automotive Engineering, also helped explain the process.
We were all so excited for Keith, who’d been dreaming about this day for a very long time. (I’m not going to mention how old he is but you may recall that we celebrated his 70th birthday two years ago).
Keith (and Kathy for one hour) drove that gorgeous car home from Bowling Green to Wisconsin where it will be the perfect whip for a most deserving man.