A Brandon man wanted to make his car-loving grandpa feel special on Father’s Day — so he arranged a special treat in Headingley.
Ted Dzogan’s grandfather Dave suffered a stroke in the fall of 2008 leaving him unable to drive. Dave told his grandson the thing he missed most was operating his own vehicle.
So Ted contacted Thunder Rapids Fun Park in Headingley to arrange a special surprise for his grandfather.
"I didn’t know I was coming here," Dave said. "Ted told me that we were going to go for a drive when we stopped."
At that moment, Dave said he was thinking: "I could do it."
Dave was excited and emotional over the surprise. A few times he wiped his cheeks with a napkin.
"He spent his whole life basically driving and spent his working life working on cars," Ted said.
Dave began driving a milk truck sometime before he was 16 and once backed into his parents’ house, knocking his mother’s geraniums off the window sill.
He worked at a Winnipeg car dealership and left his mark there, too. The mirror on the ramp that helps guide cars to the roof was put there because of Dave’s little accidents.
Dave took an auto body course, got his journeyman’s certificate and went on to be a mechanic.
In 1966, he began working in Brandon at Assiniboine Community College, where he taught automotives for 25 years.
Dave passed on some of his car knowledge to Ted when they took on a project to assemble a car, Frankenstein-style, when Ted was 15.
"We had four 1964 Toyota Celicas, all of which were written off before I was born in 1967 and they had all been disassembled. We made one car out of that over the course of a year," Ted said.
"Previous to that, I didn’t think that you swore," he said to his grandpa.
At Thunder Rapids, Father’s Day rain made Dave a bit uncomfortable with driving again, so he didn’t get to go for a go-kart spin. He will take to the track on June 25, his 90th birthday.
Even though he didn’t get to hit the pavement, Dave was happy to sit in a go-kart and get a tour of where the go karts are fixed. He even chatted with Thunder Rapids Fun Park owner Roy McGuckin.
When Dave met McGuckin, he asked to shake his hand a second time to get some of mechanic’s grease back on his hands — just for old times’ sake.
Amber McGuckin is a community correspondent for Headingley.