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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles . . . Not to Mention Boats

A FEW YEARS AGO we had some friends and their children over for a casual dinner. Their 7-year-old boy seemed bored, so I asked his dad if it was OK if I let him play with one of my metal model cars that we keep for visiting kids. His dad’s response of, “He has no interest in cars and won’t play with it,” absolutely floored me.

Was this kid from outer space? When I was a kid, I loved cars, and I’m fairly positive that my first toy was a car. I even had stuffed cars. I could replicate the sound of going through the gears on a three-speed-on-the-column Ford with convincing authenticity. I can still tell you the difference between a 1949, 1950, and 1951 Ford with unfailing accuracy. I ...

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