Sunday, October 28, 2007

Going Green

After a few hectic days in NY, a soft landing back home. Texas has a calming effect, and on an autumn day, when the sun is casting shadows differently, it might be the time to talk about something a little away from wine and Italy.

Kim’s dad, Hugo Richter, is 92, and just finished building a 1913 Model T Ford from scratch. A car that was made a year or so before Hugo was born, these two old fellas in the company of each other, keeping each other alive. It’s an amazing thing.

Hugo lives with his wife Alice out in the country north of Dallas. Driving up to their house, one might not know if this were Texas or Perigord, what with all the geese and their commotion. But it is a serene life with a workshop filled with interesting things.

Hugo told me he spends about 6 hours a day out in the workshop. He has been working on the 1913 for at least three years that I know of. We go out there several times a year; I love to go out there. We eat and have a little wine and then go out into the garden and then the workshop. Pieces of ancient Fords litter the place beside a prehistoric lathe machine that is a piece of art. Shavings and belts and all kinds of adjustment gears make up this machine from another time. It has helped to rebuild countless Model T’s.

He emailed me a picture of the finished car. A green (not standard black) Phaeton.How is it a 92 year old man can do these things? Good genes and an engaged mind. Hugo is a gentle man and people are drawn to his goodness and kindness. I truly like him, like being around him. He is old but his mind isn’t. He works it. How many reading this could rebuild a Model T?

So let’s raise a toast of a nice Spatlese or even a rich red from Southern Italy in honor of a man who hasn’t given up. Hey, millennials and gen-x’ers, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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