September 14th, 2014
FTX Motor City Speech
I’m not from here but I feel like a part of me is Detroit.
The part that doesn’t give up.
The part that pushes forward, knowing and loving who I am but still wanting to be more.
The part that knows that community and friendship is stronger than any job or industry could hope to be. And in that friendship we will find our future.
The part that loves muscle cars.
I was born in August of ’71 and that very same month that my parents brought me home they also brought home a brand new Chevrolet Malibu Chevelle. She was a metallic green with a black vinyl roof and an AM/FM radio. On cold winter mornings in Jersey I would ask my parents if I could be the one to start her and wait with her as she warmed up. I remember pretending all alone on those mornings as my breath fogged the windshield that she was my car. I remember summers as she drove us around to the community pool. And I remember her saving my life when a station wagon ran a red light and smashed into us. Even then she kept running. Because you see, her heart was strong. Her heart was made and inspired here – by the people of Detroit.
I have my own girl now, the first car I ever bought. She’s a jet black 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle and her name is Grace. But in truth I didn’t really buy a car. I welcomed a new friend. I knew it the first time I sat in her and closed her door. It was a not so chilly Los Angeles night 11 years ago and as I turned the same style GM key as I had as a boy I knew I was once again complete. That my childhood friend was here once more.
And so I thank you Detroit because you have given more than you have gotten.
Which is why it is my honor to celebrate you today with FTX Motor City.
Our 19th event but one that I’ve been waiting for since that cold 70’s winter morning. It’s my way of saying ‘thank you’ because I am grateful.
Something I feel every single time I start Grace and hear her rumble back in return.
This FTX is dedicated to Mr. Jim Ellis who passed away from cancer the week I arrived here. He and his wife Nancy raised more stone cold FTX members than anyone else. I wrote him a letter during his final week here on earth but it didn’t arrive in time. My hope is that he hears this one now.
It is also dedicated to Mrs. Mimi Burdick. Another close friend who passed away a few weeks back. This gang would never exist without my having made a lifelong friendship with her son Geoff and his pup Daisy. You have changed my life Mimi dear. I send you my love on this very day.
And finally this FTX is dedicated to my baby girl Audrey, The Good Dane. What can I say about Audrey? She is FTX 59. She was there when love bloomed between her mom Brandy and me. She was the glue that cemented us together into a happy little family. This week she has ended her battle with cancer. I honestly cannot imagine a world without her. And I won’t have to. Because love never leaves. And love is what we are creating here today.
Audrey my dear dear girl – your daddy loves you, now and forever.
Ladies and gentlemen, please celebrate with me life – here and now.
This day will never come again.
This day is FTX Motor City.