April 08, 2007

The Little Man's Legacy

I'll never forget the first time I heard Alan Jackson's song "Little Man" several years ago. The song reminded me so much of my Grandpa Morgan that it almost seemed like it was about him. Grandpa Morgan opened a service station/gas station in 1932 in the small town (then!) of Clarkston, Michigan. Grandpa was well known in the area.

I remember when I was younger and he would work on celebrity's cars (Kirk Gibson, Jack Morris, etc.) or they would sell gas to Scott Mitchell (Lion's quarterback) and how cool I always thought that was. Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle John never made a big deal about it, they just did their jobs. I certainly thought it was totally cool. You'd be surprised to know that I was a Tigers fan even back in the early 1980s ...

One time, my family was down in Clarkston visiting. Grandpa came home for lunch and asked if I wanted to go on a run with him. I hesitated, thinking it might be better to watch TV or whatever. So, he said, "Well, we have to go see Dave Rozema at Kirk Gibson's house in Lapeer. We have to pick up Gibby's jeep." Sometimes, certain things just jump out at you and it's hard to say "No." So, I said, "YES!!!" It was cool, meeting Rozema, but being at Gibby's house (huge garage, anyway) was nifty. Especially for a youngster. (Okay, I'd probably dig it just as much today!)

Anyway, the song "Little Man" really makes me think of Grandpa. He left a legacy. He was honest and well-respected. I enjoyed spending time with him over the years. We went on a couple of trips out east together (that sounds like a pretty good post for a future blog) and really enjoyed talking. He shared a lot of thoughts and knowledge with me. I guess in the day of heroes, Grandpa really was a hero.

In August 2005, Grandpa turned 90. The whole city of Clarkston showed up to celebrate with him. Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell even called him to wish him the best. It was an awesome day.

* * * * *

Even to this day, no one compares to the best mechanic service in the world, though: Morgan's Service in Clarkston, Michigan. I literally have been going there all my life. My grandpa opened it in 1932 (repeated for effect!) and it's still running today. Grandpa passed away in Oct. 2005, though, and Uncle John took over the reigns.

I still go there for almost anything that needs to be done (beyond routine maintenance) because I know they can be trusted. It always amazed me when I would check into something (an alternator in a 1991 Lumina Z34, for example) and places would be unwilling to do a job or would want to charge a sickening price (if they were going to do it ...)


Anonymous said...

Good job Rick! You must be thinking of Grandma and Grandpa today, as I am!

Have a great EAster! Meaning new and better things are to come our way

Mark G said...

You know, Rick, I think it was the generation. My Grandfather, Pop as we called him, was a hard-working small-time dairy farmer in Lapeer (Gibby, Alan Trammel and Rozema used to ride horses on their farm.)

When he died the man became legendary to me. I feel extemely lucky to have had his influence, I can tell you feel similarly.