I want to take a break for a sec from the talk of pegwarmers, up-sloped chins, too many generics, bad distribution, Regular TH's no one wants, and all the other goofy things that we collectors tend to get caught up in.
And for that little break, I want to show this photo, taken by a very good friend of mine:
This is my friend's son Ethan. Ethan is 3-years-old, and has been through a lot the last couple of weeks. What started out as a perceived minor illness quickly escalated into something much worse, and in the last 10 days Ethan has endured several surgeries, a helicopter ride, numerous visits by world-renowned specialists, some life-threatening moments, and countless pokes, prods, and tubes going in and out of his little body.
According to his parents, he has endured it all with amazing resilience, showing bravery and toughness that most of us wouldn't know. When it is time for a procedure, Ethan is ready. When more strangers arrive to help, Ethan patiently lets them do what they need to. In some ways, his endurance has helped his exhausted, loving parents deal with all they have been through as well.
Through all this, though, Ethan has one strict rule, that all that visitors must adhere to: DON'T mess with this cars. Beside his parents, Ethan's most loyal companion has been this ever-growing parking lot of Hot Wheels and other toy cars that has assembled on his pillow:
Some came from friends, others from the hospital itself. The hospital staff makes sure he is totally out before even attempting to remove the cars from his hands before surgery, and they make sure they are back in his hands before he awakes. In fact, Ethan expects a new car to be waiting for him as he returns from each surgery, and the hospital has obliged by grabbing another from their stash of donated Hot Wheels. The parking lot continues to grow.
And it isn't just the parking lot. Ethan's most trusted companion is a blue Hot Wheels Camaro that was given to him early in this ordeal, and it rarely leaves his hand. And we mean RARELY leaves his hand. That includes when he is sleeping:
I can't imagine what Ethan and his family have had to endure. They are not out of the woods yet, but they are working towards a recovery.
And as a collector with a lot of opinions, who just spent several days watching the wheeling and dealing of these little toys cars at the Hot Wheels Convention in Kentucky, what a special contrast it has been to see why these darn things exist in the first place. Their role in Ethan's ordeal has probably happened millions of times throughout the years, and no matter what toys come and go, nothing can replace a simple toy car.
Get better soon Ethan, and don't let those cars go...