Auto enthusiasts have quite a bit to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving season.
Most of all, I'm thankful for the guys and gals who share my passion for vintage vehicles. Sure, it's fun to gawk at aged-antiquated cars and trucks, but talking with the people who own them is infinitely better.
I'm thankful for the local clubs that regularly channel this energy into enjoyable outlets.
We also should be thankful that America is a free country, and we can enjoy all manner of recreational diversions, cars included, with minimal interference from the establishment, whatever that is. That isn't possible in many countries.
Thanks goes out to all of these folks who gladly tell you what they had to do to bring their pride and joy back to life. Networking is alive and well in old car circles.
What I prize even more are the opportunities to ride in these vehicles. Memories of cruising in a scary-fast 1963 Chevrolet Nova convertible, 1941 Chevy sedan and a 1931 Ford Model A tudor sedan stand out in my 2012 Thanksgiving edition.
And I'm thankful I should have an opportunity to increase this "smiles by the miles" quotient even more during the 2013 cruising season.
I'm thankful there are a number of cruise nights, automotive swap meets and regular car shows that are holding their own despite tough economic times. I have no reason to expect the 2013 versions of these events to be anything but even better than those of 2012 .
Yes, the old car hobby is showing signs of graying, but I'm thankful it's still strong and vibrant. Thankfully there are indications that younger generations are picking up the slack in keeping vintage vehicle interest at a high pitch. It's up to the more mature hobbyists to pass along their zeal for vintage tin to their children, grandchildren, younger co-workers or youthful neighbors.
Our nervous and sour economy has devoured several of my favorite old car magazines in the oast few years, but I'm thankful some of the bigger and better players are still out there and appear to be surviving, if not thriving.
I eagerly await new issues of "Street Rodder" and "Rod and Custom" magazines, along with my favorite, the "Goodguys Gazette" which packs in more pictures of old cars and trucks than we have a right to expect.
Even the television yields captivating shows featuring old cars these days.
For those hands-on old car buffs who build and maintain their prize rides, thanksgiving applies as well. It's now possible to build brand-new versions of the 1940 Ford, 1955-57 Chevrolets, along with Ford Model A roadsters and pickups and 1932 Fords.
These reproductions aren't cheap, but it's encouraging to know the stock of old tin hasn't dried up. Finding parts shouldn't be an issue in most cases in getting that old vehicle up and running again.
There are many blessings in the old car hobby, and I'm certainly grateful for all of them.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org