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I put my hands on the handlebars and squeezed with a death grip. I slid up on the low profile seat and watched the condensation float through the cold air as I exhaled. I stabbed the throttle and prepared for the 5,000 rpm adrenaline rush. The clutch engaged and the 440 free air motor picked the skis up on the 1975 Thunder Jet for about 20 feet. I was 15 years old it was Christmas time and life was good.

When I was thinking about writing something that related to the shop and the Christmas three things came to mind – snowmobiles, tools, and building gifts.

I think of snowmobiles because the trails open right before Christmas. I have owned snowmobiles on and off since I was about 13 years old. Having a snowmobile gets me excited about the winter season and the snow. It really helps the long winter go by fast especially if there is enough snow on the ground to ride.   

Tools remind me of Christmas because every Christmas when I was younger my dad would give me some tools. I still have most of those tools and use them on a regular basis. Using those old tools that are still in good shape reminds me to spend the money for quality. Over the years I accumulated tools and by the time I was old enough to drive I had enough tools of my own to allow me to work on the car. This gave me a real head start for when I moved out and couldn’t borrow tools as easily.


Building gifts is a great feeling. One year I wanted to get my niece a tricycle. I looked at the toy stores and all I found were cheap imitations of what I thought a tricycle should be. What would that be? Well in my mind it would be something like what I had growing up. I tracked down and bought a used AMF tricycle built back in the 70’s. A steel, sturdy, tricycle that will last for years. I disassembled it, repainted it, and added a custom nameplate. I really enjoyed this project and I know it will last for years. My niece really liked it to.


Merry Christmas.

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