Tuesday, January 12, 2010
As you may imagine, at this point I answered the call. "Is this Larry?" asked the unmistakable voice on the other end. From my mouth came the incredibly witty response; "Yes, it is...is this REALLY Jay Leno?" Well, to cut to the chase, the fellow on MY phone was the real Jay Leno, and at this point my heart was pounding at approximately the same pace as a Rick Mears pole-run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Here was my hero, and virtual kindred spirit, blue-denim workshirt and everything, calling me to tell me that he likes my writing, especially about steam-powered automobiles. Mr. Leno was in his car at the time, coming home from taping his show, and so he asked me if he could call me back in about an hour or so to talk some more.
.....Jay Leno asked me if he could call me back and talk about cars. One guess as to my answer.
I spent the next hour on pins and needles, wondering if this were really happening, and if Leno would really call me back. At 11pm, the phone rang, and darned if it wasn't him! We spent the next 40 minutes or so talking about all kinds of things...Doble and White steam automobiles, stationary steam engines (he has several huge examples of these), his beautiful Cord 812 sedan and what it is like to drive it, as well as he and I getting acquainted on a personal basis. Eventually, "Jay" (I now feel comfortable using his first name) said that his wife was reminding him that they had an engagement to attend, and we closed our conversation, but not before he invited me to come out to California some time to visit his collection, and also so that he could "show me how they operate", referring to his steam-powered machines. He even gave me his phone number. As I write this, it is 2 weeks after that evening, yet it still seems kind of unreal that this man, who I admire and almost idolize so much, actually read my scribbles, liked it, and then looked me up and called me to chat. I'm not a "star struck" kind of person, but this affected me on a deeply personal basis. It was an honor I didn't deserve, but will never, ever forget.
The best part of all was seeing the look on my son's face, as he walked into where I was sitting while talking with Jay, when I pointed at the phone, and mouthed the words; "JAY LENO!" to him. I thought his eyes were going to pop right out of his head. There is an effort going on in my "home" website, the aforementioned "The Car Lounge" by many of its members, who are also my good friends, to help me accumulate the funding to be able to travel to California at a future date, and accept Jay's wonderful invitation to visit. To my friends and colleagues at TCL, I don't really know what to say except, thank you, and God bless you all. If and when I do make it to California, I will bring back a thorough "VWLarry Report" on Jay Leno's collection, and the experience of being taken through it in-person. Since you all know that I am the "Master of Making a Short Story Long", it won't lack for details, either.
Finally, to Jay Leno, if you should happen to read this...THANK YOU. I had been a little bit blue about the way it seemed as if nobody read my little blogpage, but somehow, knowing that you paid a visit, that makes all the difference. You're a very nice, and a very classy fellow, just the way I would expect you to be, and it's an honor to have made your acquaintance. The best to you, always.
Posted by VWLarry at 3:17 PM