This weekend I’m off to Detroit as a guest of Ford, to attend the North American International Auto Show as well as some fabulous events hosted by Ford. The Auto Show is open to the public from January 19-27, but as part of credentialed media thanks to Ford, I’ll be there super-early to see everything it has to offer. Or, as much as I can before my feet beg for mercy in heels.
Being invited to attend the NAIAS is bittersweet for me.
When I was 12, in January 1989, my parents took me on the one and only “big trip” we ever went on when I was a kid. We went to visit relatives in Windsor, Ontario and attend the Auto Show in Detroit. That trip was a big deal for me and I remember parts of it very clearly. Wearing my “Don’t Worry Be Happy” shirt on the airplane, driving in the tunnel between Windsor and Detroit, and looking up at the statue of Joe Louis at the Cobo Center all stand out like snapshots in my mind.
Walking around with my dad and looking at the vehicles, wide-eyed, also stands out. The thing is, I can’t remember what the vehicles looked like (beyond one with very cool doors) because what I remember is hanging out with my dad. With 40 years between us, my dad and I didn’t have a lot to chat about – much less so because I was an awkward pre-teen girl in 1989 and on the cusp of those teen years when your parents are anything but your friend. That trip, that time together, is an event in my life I doubt I’ll ever forget.
Telling my dad, now 76, about my upcoming trip brought back a discussion about our 1989 trip over the holidays though his memories are more fuzzy than my own. Still, it was a moment, and I’ve learned over the past 2 years while he battles illness that moments are what matter. Telling stories, sharing memories, and having something to talk about when you don’t want to talk about that.
Of course, the North American International Auto Show is about so much more. It’s about showcasing more than 500 vehicles, sharing 2014 production car introductions as well as the future of cars with concept car introductions. It’s about celebrating the industry and looking forward with optimism at what’s to come.
Sunday night upon my arrival I’m off to an exclusive dinner with the Ford team with all the guests invited by Ford (we’re a big group, as Ford loves to do everything big!) at the Henry Ford Museum which I haven’t had the chance to visit yet on previous media trips. Monday brings a full day of tours, driving fun, and panel discussions. And Tuesday, well Tuesday is the day we check out the NAIAS at Cobo Center!
I’m almost packed, and definitely eager to go back to Detroit as I’ve come to love the city these past few years! Unlike some guests of Ford leaving the warmth of Florida or Texas, the weather in Detroit might be a treat for me, warmer than what I’m used to here in Saskatchewan!
I really can’t wait. I also can’t wait to come home, call my dad, and tell him all the things I saw, did, and experienced. It’s just one more great opportunity to go back in time and talk about some wonderful family memories. Who knew that 12 year old girl in 1989 visiting with her parents would attend again 24 year later as a guest of Ford. Those are the things really good stories are made of.