I started out by purchasing business-class seats on the Cascade Amtrak, and at 8:30 in the morning Bradley and I were on board and headed north to Tacoma, two hours and 30 minutes away. It was his first train ride, and he was delighted. Before long, Legos were strewn across his seat and fold-down desk. Only multiple visits to the snack car diverted him from his architectural tasks.

When we arrived, I had Bradley present the cashier’s check to the sellers. Then we installed his car seat (along with cupholders—can’t do anything without cupholders) and headed south. Audio entertainment was provided courtesy of Pandora, streaming to my iPhone and transmitted to a JamBox via BlueTooth — my favorite non-intrusive way of putting tunes in an old car.

The Volvo cruised at 70 mph with the engine turning a leisurely 3,100 rpm. The wipers wiped, the heater heated and the blinkers blinked. I noted a couple of resonating rumbles, likely due to the exhaust system making contact with the body or frame somewhere, which I’ll have looked at this week. Bradley fell asleep nearly immediately, just as I was about to tell him the when-I-was-your-age story about picking pears in my grandfather’s orchard in order to buy my own toys.

We had time to make a quick detour to the airport and see Wendie just before she boarded a plane to Chicago, and she told Bradley that she “liked his new car very much.”

But the best part of the day came when we got home. Santa Claus (or perhaps it was local legend and collector Monte Shelton, but who can say for sure?) showed up in a Bentley S1 and dropped off gifts for both father and son. Bradley proudly showed Santa his Volvo.

With Alex having arrived home last night from her first semester in Grenoble and looking forward to getting comfortable in “her” new 1800ES, we’ll just have to sort things out in the Martin household.

Of course, Alex did mention that if we really wanted Bradley to have the Volvo, she had found a very nice bronze 1983 911SC in Costa Mesa, and that the color matched her wardrobe…

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