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The surgeon and the genius

My father was an accomplished man. Ivy League trained eye surgeon and decorated Marine officer combat veteran. Imposing stern figure and someone you didn't want to disappoint.

He loved cars.

When it was time to make his dream of restoring a birthday twin '37 Ford pickup, he needed a partner. So he looked locally in central Kentucky to find someone to come to the farm and assemble the parts. He found Gilbert.

Gilbert is the stuff that fuels jokes of the elite when they disparage rural folks as rednecks. Obese and unkempt in grease-stained overalls with a southern drawl and 8th-grade graduation vocabulary rendering communication almost unintelligible.

One of them was a genius.

Doc would search out hard to find parts on the Internet, and as they arrived at the farm, Gilbert scrubbed them clean and laid them out like a surgery prep table. The dream had begun.

Slowly, meticulously, each rusted part was replaced by an immaculate twin sister, and the graceful curves began to look more beauty than beast. Finally she was ready for the ball.

Year one at the Ford V-8 car show in Dearborn was a rude awakening for the odd couple. The Phillips head screw had not been invented, for example. The color chosen was not available on Ford trucks until 4 years later.

Back to the workshop for more parts ordering by the surgeon, and car surgery by the redneck. Flat head screws replaced the Phillips and were carefully trimmed to line up exactly in a beautiful row.

When they returned to Kentucky after year two, it was with a V8 trophy for best in show.

The surgeon and the genius brought their creation, Beautiful Betty Belle of the Ball, home to receive all admirers from her perch.

Why are such stories so rare - diverse minds crossing socioeconomic boundaries to create something beautiful?

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