November 2008 . . . one month, three life-changers:
1. I retired from Chrysler.
2. I bought a yellow Jeep Wrangler.
3. My twin grandkids were born.

These seemingly unrelated events are interwoven. They add up to help explain why I'm a happy guy.
I have fond memories of my days at Chrysler. I always felt lucky that I enjoyed my working days more than most do. Retirement snuck up on me. It was a leap into the great unknown. I had no grand plans, but I remember feeling the excitement of a clean slate, an open book, a whole new ballgame.

That's where my mind was when my wife and I visited Southfield (Mich.) Chrysler Jeep on a snowy November evening to shop for my retirement vehicle. Our friendly sales rep tapped a few keys on his computer, and the dealership's Wrangler supply appeared on his screen. I looked over his shoulder, and two words jumped out at me: Detonator Yellow. "How about that one?" I asked. My wife gave me a look that said, "Is this the man I married?" The sales rep smiled and asked, "Are you sure?"

Yes, I was. I was struck with the idea of walking into my garage each day and having my new wheels there to shout out at me about my all-new life. I had owned a Wrangler before and remembered how satisfying it was to take it out to cruise the back roads on a weekend morning. I looked forward to more of that -- and not just on weekends.

And speaking of my all-new life, nothing was newer than Miles and Mia. Being their grandpa is a joy beyond words. I look forward with great anticipation to their monthly sleepovers, which keep me smiling for days. We have such a good time together. When they visit, they always ask to play in Grandpa's Jeep. I love to see their big smiles as they get behind the wheel, standing on the driver's seat, pretending to drive, playing with the buttons and knobs and mirror, jumping in the back, treasuring their personal, private clubhouse. "Cool," says 3-year-old Miles.

I've told them that Grandpa's Jeep will be theirs some day, but as I think about presenting them the keys 13 years from now, I wonder if I'll really be ready to give it up.

Will Miles and Mia remember? Now that this blog entry has been published, Grandpa's promise will be searchable on Google.

I better start saving now for a 2025 Wrangler.
I wonder what colors will be available.