Playing cards. Reading magazines. Watching television. Rebuilding an engine.
On a standardized test, when one is told to choose which one of the four
doesn't belong, most people would readily choose "rebuilding an engine"
as the phrase that doesn't fit; especially when you correlate it to the
subject "leisure activities."
However, for one particular Wayland student, that is exactly what he does
during his spare time. Jonathan Barnes, a junior from Tulia, TX, can be
seen driving around in a '72 Chevelle. The difference between his car
and nearly every other one here on campus? He built and installed the
engine that motivates that car.
To fully comprehend why one would do this to himself, a look into the
life of Barnes is the only thing that will do it justice.
Barnes, according to himself, was "fortunate." His father, David Barnes,
is owner of Tulia Engine Machine in Jonathan's hometown. So, from the
time he was old enough to crawl, Barnes has constantly been around cars
and car parts.
From pistons to pushrods, words that make the average man cringe are music
to Jonathan's ears. The oil, the grime, the perplexing conundrum of nuts
and bolts that daily cause migraines in thousands of people are just a
small part of what Jonathan considers a good time.
His passion for automobiles and understanding why they work continued
to increase over the years, even though it wasn't something that he wanted
to be his number one focus.
He tried other recreational activities, from baseball to anything anyone
could ever think of. According to Barnes, he even gave "underwater basket-weaving"
He really tried to fit in with the athletic crowd, and stuck with baseball
and football through his sophomore year. But it was never natural to him.
On his Saturday afternoons, instead of sitting in front of the TV watching
a football game or learning the ins and outs of a playbook, Barnes would
find himself drawn to the shop.
No matter how hard he tried to get into baseball or football, he just
"If you asked me what I played in baseball, I would tell you left…left
out! Or in football, I played guard…guard the water!"
Not only that, but Barnes just couldn't even get into everyday sports
"I know people who know stats up and down but I never got into that. But
I can tell you the bore size of a 454, the stroke of a 350 or anything
Basically, nothing he tried ever gave him the sense of accomplishment
that fixing a car did. By constantly working and talking with his father,
Barnes picked up all the skills he needed to fix nearly any problem with
almost any kind of automobile.
"He just caught on quick and worked hard," his father said. "His ability
to rebuild and fix-up cars came pretty naturally and he has continued
to use his natural ability along with the knowledge and experience he
gains every day that he works here (at the shop)."
After his junior year, Barnes quit all sports and focused on just working
for his dad.
His interest in engines grew and he started taking apart and rebuilding
engines. From there, his father gave him the idea to buy a car and rebuild
the engine for it.
With his love for working on cars also came the natural love of all men:
nice cars. So, when Jonathan's father suggested he buy a car and rebuild
the engine, he had a certain few models in mind. One of those models was
a 1970's Chevelle.
Barnes' father began looking out for cars that fit in his wish list and,
in October of 2002, through some connections heard of a 1972 Chevelle
that was being sold for cheap. It was painted silver with black racing
stripes and the body was still in remarkably good shape. The Barnes family
purchased the vehicle and Jonathan was given a new toy to play with.
Sure enough, Jonathan took on the task of rebuilding the engine.
Now, a year later, you can see Barnes rev his engine and cruises off into
the sunset. He is confident he chose the right leisure activity.