Adventures of The Little Pinecar

It all began with a flyer telling us to mark the date.  The AWANA Grand Prix, Friday March 12, 2010.  The pinecar kit was purchased and Patrick and L began brainstorming together.  What shape should the little pinecar be?  How about colors?  How do we make it fast?  How do we make it cool?  Slowly an idea took shape and the little pinecar was coming to life in the minds of a boy and his father.
We are not woodworkers.  We do not have any fancy saws, drills or tools to make the job of shaping a car any easier.  We used sandpaper wrapped around a WD-40 can and lots of elbow grease to shape the car.  Next came paint.  Yellow and red were the must haves.  The car was painted many coats of yellow paint and then the red flames were applied.  The painting portion of the project was the most time consuming due to the amount of time needed for the paint to dry.  Good thing our procrastinating family got started two weeks early on this little car.  (No thanks to a loving mother who urged her boys, maybe not so subtlely, to get started asap!)

We needed to turn in the car on the Tuesday before race day and it was getting down to the wire.  The paint was still drying and Patrick was still trying to find all the tried and true ways of making this little pinecar fast.  The wheels were checked for balance; the axles were polished and rubbed.  Weights were added to the car so that it was nice and heavy.  Calibrations were taken.  The axles were polished and rubbed some more.

Tuesday came, D day. (deadline day?).  As I walked into the kitchen after Patrick had gone to work I was still surprised and somewhat nervous to see the little yellow and red pinecar still had no wheels.  Only 11 hours to go until check-in and no wheels!  So, as any dutiful wife and mother would do, I called Patrick at work and excitedly asked him how confident he was that the wheels would be on the car in time for check-in.  In his "don't worry dear" tone of voice he reassured me several times that it wasn't a problem.  The day flew by and Patrick finally(!) arrived home and immediately began to assist L with attaching the axles and wheels to the car.  After a few test drives on the dining table, it was finished.  The little pinecar stayed steady and smoothly followed its course.

Now for the hard part.  Preparing our oldest, most sensitive child for the possibility of a loss.  L handles most disappointments in life by crying.  So Patrick and I were a bit nervous as to the mental stability or lack thereof, should L be disappointed in the way his little pinecar performed.  We prepped him on the joys of winning and losing and the proper way to display his emotions for the remainder of the week.
Race day!  Being newbie's to the Grand Prix and pinecar derby arena, we didn't know what to expect.  We were living on the adrenaline that always comes before a big race.  Excitedly wondering on the drive there, how little pinecar would fare, wondering about all our friends who were participating in the race and giving opinions on whose car would win. Upon arriving, we immediately noticed father and son or daughter pairs huddled close together outside the building.  Hmm?  Wonder what they were doing?  This looked serious. 

We were greeted by friends and quickly ushered to the creative design table where they had pictures posted of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners for creative design.  When we got there, people were congratulating L and patting him (and Patrick) on the back.  Much to our surprise, L won 1st place for creative design in the 3rd-4th grade boy's category.  Our eyes were as big as saucers and our sensitive young man was smiling not only from ear to ear but from wall to wall.  I thanked God that our night had started out so well.  Maybe now L would be able to handle the disappointment of a loss with grace and dignity and without tears.
We were then ushered over to the car table where one of our race buddies told L and Patrick to find the car and get it ready for the race.  Get it ready?  Then our race buddy handed Patrick a tube of graphite and told him to go outside and prepare the wheels.  Oh!  So that was what all the huddling was about.  So our pit crew disappeared outside to be one of the huddled groups fine tuning the little pinecar.  After dutifully applying graphite to the wheels, L spun the wheels of the little pinecar time and time again until it was time to race.
There were 25 or so heats and all drivers raced in four of them.  L was up first.  One of six racers in the first heat.  The little pinecar was placed on the track and expertly adjusted by the track engineer.  The countdown began and the little pinecar was off on its first race.  Crossing the finish line, we looked up to see how it did.  First place!  In the first race!  For newbie's!  L was excited to say the least.  The crowd cheered and I got a little teary eyed.  Who's crying now?  The racing continued until all 3rd-4th grade boys' cars had raced the required laps.  All in all, L's little pinecar did very well.  The best part was that L did very well.  Not one tear or upside down smile.  Not even a hint of disappointment when his little pinecar didn't place as well as he had hoped.
Driving home that night, we discussed all the cool cars, marveled at the speed of some, described our favorites to each other and talked about the most memorable ones. (One car was a hot dog complete with mustard!)  And then the discussion turned to next year.  What shape should the next pinecar be? How about colors? How do we make it fast? How do we make it cool?
Before going to bed, a young man loving placed his trophy and the little pinecar on a shelf in a place of honor for all to see and a mother and father loving tucked away the memories of our first son and his first Grand Prix and how we are blessed unimaginably.


  1. Awesome story and groovy car! Way to go L!! Congratulations from the aunt and uncle who wish they could have been there cheering you on!

  2. Loved the post. I found myself anticipating what was to happen all over again. You are a wonderful writer and a beautiful woman. I am so glad I found this little hidden treasure of yours.
    Love you,


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