It was Saturday, July 27, 2002. My wife and I were celebrating our 30th anniversary which was to take place on the 29th. Our daughters were home for the weekend to celebrate with us. After dinner, Mary Beth suggested that we head for the beach to have dessert and enjoy the sunset, so we piled in the car and headed for Pine Island park. About halfway there, our eldest daughter Jennifer called for a “pit stop”. “There’s a Holiday Inn just up ahead,” I said, “we can stop there.”
“No, no,” Mary Beth replied, “Hardee’s is just beyond, we can stop there.” Okay, no problem, we pulled into Hardee’s instead. Each Saturday evening, the Spring Hill Cruisers local classics club meets at Hardee’s. As Jennifer went inside, Mary Beth, Sarah, and I got out to admire the cars – mostly American muscle cars and hot rods.
As we walked around, the club began their meeting by announcing the winner of the “Car of the Week” award. The MC announced “The car of the week is a 1946 MG TC.” “Which one is that?” Jennifer asked. I replied, “That one over there – next to the ’56 T-Bird.” .
TC 1197 Homosassa Springs MG Rally, Nov 2002
After describing the car, the MC announced, “Will the owner of the 1946 MG please come forward to receive the award?” No one came, so she repeated the request, then added “According to our records, the owner of this car is Tom Gill.”
I was absolutely stunned, and didn’t move, thinking I could not possibly have heard her right. She said again, “The owner of this car is Tom Gill, will Tom Gill please come forward to receive the award?”
I slowly moved toward the podium, with a million thoughts going through my mind – was this a joke, where’s the hidden camera? The podium was reached, and the MC placed a ribbon around my neck, handed me a set of keys and said “here you go.” Just then Mary Beth ran up, threw her arms around my neck, and exclaimed “Happy Anniversary!” Applause broke out and I, still reeling from the surprise of it all, was escorted to the TC by my beaming family, who had kept this secret for several months.
Needless to say, I was thrilled, and still am. TC1197 was christened “Annie” as a remembrance of how she came into the family.
A couple of days later, Mary Beth and I left for a two week tour of England, Wales, and Scotland. As we drove through the countryside, I couldn’t stop thinking about how wonderful it would be to drive the TC along these byways. Some day we hope to take Annie on a tour of her homeland.
TC 1197 at the Southern GOF, Palm Bay, FL – April 2003