Having shared this story with my mother (whose father it was that recently passed away), I now feel free to share it with the world. Had she not laughed, I would have felt less secure in telling it, but I am pleased to say she found the humor in it.
Before driving to the airport to board the plane home, Bubba, the girls, and I joined several of my family members at my grandfather's condominium to sort through his things. The effort was a combined "take what might speak to you" and "support each other while we remember the details of his life" exercise. Photos were removed from the walls, clothes hanging in the closet were embraced and smelled in an effort to catch one last whiff. As was our habit, tears mingled with laughter and head-shaking disbelief when we discovered the cache of cassette collections he purchased while he watched late night TV.
All of this came to a screeching halt when a photo album nobody had seen before was discovered in his desk drawer. We all gathered around to see what treasures it held. We got more than we bargained for....
Several years before, my grandfather decided he needed to have a show car. Something he could drive through town to attract attention. Something he could drive to car shows throughout Southern California and stand beside proudly. The car he bought was a Clenet. Not a kit car, not a typical hot rod, not an ancient Model T. This car was, like him, very unique. Only a few thousand of them had been made and they were gorgeous. He was so proud of that car and he took full advantage of it. He loved to park it outside his condo on the street. He drove it to every car show within reasonable reach. He met Jay Leno, drove the mayor of his town in the local parade, and, apparently, let nude models sit in it and on it.
Yup. It appears that at some point a prestigious magazine contacted my grandfather and asked him whether they might use his Clenet as a 'prop' for their gorgeous young nude models. Seems as though he was more than willing. The newly discovered photo album contained between 10-15 photos of twenty-something women, mostly blonde, mostly well-endowed, sitting behind the wheel of his car, posed (sometimes artfully, sometimes not so much) on the hood of the car and, in the final shot, standing next to my grandfather who was fully dressed in a tuxedo, chauffer's cap on his head, arm around a buck-naked female model's shoulders, cheesy grin on his face, next to the car.
A life well-lived, indeed.