About a year ago I was complaining to Bruce about how many damned eulogies I’ve had to write lately. He laughed at me for knowing my audience too well and then said, “Do me favor, when I die… Don’t.”
So last week when I was notified that Bruce had passed, I didn’t… And I’m not going to now, but I wanted to tell a story about Bruce that has always sort of amazed me.
About twenty years ago, there was a young man on the HAMB trying like hell to build his first hot rod. He’d make some progress one week and then run into a road block the next. Often times, he’d get discouraged and sort of throw down his tools and do his best to forget the old car even existed. A few weeks would go by and then he would be back posting and working and trying…
I found out years later that his persistence came from constant badgering from Bruce Lancaster’s phone calls. “Dude,” the now forty-something said. “You remember when I did the start up on the flathead and it had no oil pressure? That was it for me. I was done with this shit.”
“Bruce either had or bought a freshly rebuilt stock motor and sent it to me via a Greyhound Bus. I didn’t know what to think. Up until that point, he was just some strange old librarian from the internet that would call at the worst possible moment and make me feel guilty about wasting good old parts. But I had never felt as guilty as I felt when that motor showed up. There was no way in hell I wasn’t going to finish that car after that.”
“I never met him. I don’t even know what he looks like. But I owe so much to that guy. And I’m really thankful that I got to tell him that. That he knew he was the reason for the passion I still have today.”
I found out about all of this about five years ago and asked Bruce if I could write a story about it. He responded that he had no idea what I was talking about. I didn’t push back, because I could tell Bruce wasn’t interested. He’d rather talk about my ’38 and the reasoning behind it sitting for over a decade.
And it’s here where I would typically come up with a conclusion about all of this and Bruce’s methods for motivation. But, I’m not gonna… Because that would come across as some sort of eulogy. Instead, I’m just going to leave this here and let you guys do it because as far as I know, Bruce didn’t make y’all promise anything.