The Washington Times-Herald

April 6, 2013

The little things matter

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — It is the little things that matter most I usually do not like talking about my family in this space but this is a cool story.

It¹s a story about a prized possession. We all have them, whether it be $1 or $1 million. I doesn't matter what others think about it or it's worth, all that matters is what that item means to you.

For me, I have several. In some boxes stored somewhere, I have glassware from formals of fraternity days past, a wooden Buddha statue and a 'magic' cigarette box I bought from some peddler on the beach in Bali.

For no one else, those items aren't worth much but they are worth an awful lot to me. The same can be held true for my grandfather Lester Smith's 1948 Ford.

Sometimes, those things we hold dear go away. Maybe, they reappear again.

Back when I was a child, he always had that 1948 Ford sedan, all original, even down to the black lacquer paint. Unlike many in the classic car world, grandpa did not want to customize his '48. He wanted it stock. Although I never asked him, I think it was because the stock look reminded of days past when he was freshly home from World War II, newly married to my grandmother and just away from the birth of my father in 1950.

A reminder of the salad days, I guess. Looking back on it, it was Detroit's salad days as well.

When I was a child, he was always working on the car. There wasn¹t a speck of rust to be found on the car. No pitted chrome and the interior smelled nice. But like all of us, my grandfather and his '48 started showing their age. Grandpa didn't spend as much time on the car like he once did, but for an older man he is still very active.

But not as active as he once was and instead of letting the '48 sit its way into rust, my grandfather gave the car to my uncle, Kent Smith. He is an avid car guy, much like his father. Kent trailered the car all the way to his home in Edgewood, Ky., a suburb of Cincinnati.

Instead of letting the car sit, Kent decided on a bold course and fix it up.

He and my dad knew my grandfather's 90th birthday was coming up this year and Kent set to work, rebuilding the straight-6 engine, fixing the body work and freshening up the interior for the grand unveiling last month.

The '48 sat in my Dad's garage while a surprise was planned on his birthday in March. Everyone was in on it, including my 5-year-old. He's a car kid, thanks to Mater and Lightning McQueen.

When the garage door opened, Grandpa started crying as he saw his '48 Ford again, this time a deep electric blue. He took the first drive around the block. The Ford is back in his garage, ready for a new generation of Smiths to learn how to properly wax a car and ride in someday.

Another thing about those little trinkets. Sometimes, those things become prized by the entire family.


Nate Smith is not as much of a car guy as he is a Jeep guy. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter at NateSmithWTH.