Blind Squirrel Adventures No. 4 (A love Affair)

SRT8's Foot
SRT8

SRT8

I had such adventures yesterday.  I found old friends and new ones.  But, those wonders have to wait for an adventure I had in the early morning hours before daylight today.   That adventure reminded me of the Southerner’s love affair with cars.

Often, I drive to my McDonald’s for the iced coffee turned into its hot version.  The kids are not allowed to make special drinks, but they make one for me when nobody is around.  Nobody is around on the streets at that time of morning.  Except this morning.  At a stoplight, there was what I think is called a “cube car” in front of me.  It’s a little toy of a car that is really a tricycle with a cartoon body laid down on top of  it.   I swung over to the next lane.  I have encountered cube cars before, and they frighten me because they belong to a new age that I don’t understand.

I come from a generation of muscle cars…big and small.  They all shared one essential characteristic.  They would get up and go.  It is becoming nearly impossible to find one now.  We even owned a restored 1955 Thunderbird with buttery seats and a removable top.  She was a beauty.  And another brand new one for The-Boy-Who-Grew-Too-Tall.   Pops bought that one for his grandson on the day the baby was born.  We drove Ford cars from the first Mustangs down through time to the big cars when we grew up.  We bought big Fords, Broncos, Lincolns, a Cadillac.  We gave our cars names.  “Come on, Lucy!”, as if she were real.  And I think they were real.  An extension of ourselves.  A reflection of our personalities.  Those cars were never just a “ride” as the kids say.

Now I am old.  Too old perhaps for a big muscle car with “Street Racing Technology” built in.  I took her for a trial run around the block while my husband chatted with the dealership owner.  A young man rode with me.  He looked half amused and half terrified.   As we waited for the traffic to clear, he suggested that this car had a “lot of power”.  His not too subtle warning to an old lady about the fishtailing she’d do if I stomped on the pedal.  And, boy, would she get up an go.  He was right and I was sold on old SRT8…even if I do still feel a little guilty for abandoning Henry.

You can even turn off the anti-skid feature if you really want to play.  I have to confess that I have played a little in her.  When I discovered that every kid in town knew what she was and wanted to race her at every opportunity, I took up a few of the louder challenges.   Mostly, their souped-up cars were more revved-up bravado than anything close to zero-to-sixty bragging rights.  I never took the free trip to the Penske Driving School that came with the SRT8.   I wondered if anybody else took Penske up on the offer.

Just so you know the truth about me, I’m throwing in a snapshot of the brake dust on SRT8’s wheels.  She’s lovely when her wheels are shiny, but that requires not a wash job, but what they call a full  “detailing”.   Somewhere inside this old woman the same reckless, impatient girl is alive still.

 

SRT8's Foot

SRT8's Foot

26 Comments on “Blind Squirrel Adventures No. 4 (A love Affair)

  1. Wonderful post and images. We all are many people; we live sedimentary lives full of artifacts of different cultures to which we have belonged ( we never really leave our village/tribe).

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  2. I’ve never had a love affair with cars, though I know quite a few people who have…including my father. I still remember the old Pontiac GTO he had when I was a kid. He spent every weekend with that car, until my mom made him sell it. (She must be who I get my non-love-affair-with-cars from.) I don’t remember if the car had a name, but knowing my dad….it did. : )

    I’m completely loving your Blind Squirrel Adventures. Brilliant photos!

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  3. The only car I ever desired was the Karmann Ghia: remember those? I don’t think they were known for their thrust, so to speak, but I always wanted to tour around in a green KG…thanks for the memory!

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    • Lord, I haven’t heard anybody talk about the Karmann Ghia since the sixties when my husband was enamored with them. I don’t think he ever owned one, but he knew everything about them. I remember about the handmade body and the pewter welds. They were beautiful little cars. The Germans made the best cars, I think. Maybe the Italians too. Can you believe she was a Volkswagen? We think of the Beetle as the Volkswagen car in the US, but the Karmenn Ghia was the crowning jewel of them all. I think she did get up and go. Thank you for reminding me of something I had forgotten about my husband!

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  4. Sounds like a lot of fun!
    I’ll just concede defeat right now, though!
    Have I mentioned I’m a bit slow? Tends to work against me sometimes.
    🙂

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  5. Thanks for sharing. The excitement came through. I fell in love, long ago, with the ’55 Thunderbird. Since then, have lost most of my interest in cars. But it was fun to read this.

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    • Shimon, I have been slipping around your blog as quietly as I could without leaving any footprints. You intimidated me in your profile description. Good Lord, man, you speak the Holy Language…actually speak it as your mother tongue. I felt far too shy to knock on your door and show myself dressed in my ignorance. I thought only scholars and scribes and holy men knew Hebrew. I never dreamed even they spoke it. I have discovered that only a comparative handful of people on earth still speak it.

      Then I met The Cat who doesn’t appreciate the smell of cigarette smoke, and I felt a little more confidence. I have to share the last poem you posted with the finality of its last words that go something like this: “…while we spat out a few of our remaining teeth”. I apologize. The image is here behind my eyes, but I’ve fractured your lines terribly, I know.

      I will come back when I have the confidence to tell my story of the man I met in the Holy City.

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  6. Just when I thought I’d plumbed the depths of your nine cat lives, you come up with a tenth–a living reincarnation of that Jan and Dean hit. My my–your momma must have rolled her eyes and said a few things under her breath back when who laid the rail. The only baby I had, and wish I still did was a 1977 Mustang Ghia. Those days have gone by, but it’s nice to know you’re still burning rubber. Teach em their place. Someone has to, and it may as well be you. I only wish I was there to see it!

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    • Lance, I just cannot lie to you. Not to you. I was thinking to myself (after I returned from getting my coffee in the wee hours this morning): “They think I live in a musty past furnished with overstuffed chairs and lace doilies, don’t they?” I turned on my old heel, grabbed my camera, and mostly felt my way into the garage. The light bulb in there has been burned out for awhile, but I can never think of it when SRT8 isn’t sitting under it. I have my pride, you know. I don’t live in the past. I never did. My momma went to her urn rolling her eyes, but she loved me anyway. The worst I ever heard her swear was a whispered S.H.I.T. under her breath when she thought nobody could hear. Even then she could only bring herself to spell the word.
      I am my daddy’s child, like it or not. Once, when momma was furious with me, she said: “Your daddy will never be dead as long as you are alive!” She was very old by then, and she did not offer the assessment as a compliment. I thought that was classic Lucy. “Lucy” was my affectionate name for her. It also required her to explain to every doctor and nurse who met her during her last years that her name was not Lucy. “That’s the dog’s name!”, she’d explain in that exasperated tone she always used with me. I think it was my way of keeping her alive. Lord, how I loved that elegant Lucy.

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      • I don’t know how I missed your reply about having attended Stephens College. Let me tell you…those girls from Amarillo and Muleshoe were hardly Southern belles. Ha ha. How I laughed at the image of the New York preacher’s son’s exposure to that little bit of youthful debauchery! Just what’s called for at that age. 🙂 Thanks for the story.

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    • Lance, take a look at your Mustang Ghia and weep. It was featured in Mustang Monthly here: http://www.mustangmonthly.com/featuredvehicles/mump_0911_1977_mustang_2_ghia/index.html

      It was only made in two colors, both in black and tan. One with a black top and a tan bottom; the other with the reverse.

      The woman featured in this article spent seventeen years searching for another like the one she sold. Ah, if only you still had that car! Haven’t we all sold one or two cars we wished we’d kept. Oh, well. If you’d painted the Mona Lisa, you’d have sold it too, huh? 🙂

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      • I only saw this just now–and do I ever love your tribute to your mother and father. It would seem you had just that right mix of reverence and rebellion. In 1967 I was granted a full tuitional scholarship to Stephens College (for young women) way down in Missourah. It’s due to their needing male students to complete their Theatre Arts programme–so there were six of us guys, and 2,000 mostly Southern belles. Did my New York preacher’s son ways EVER get get an education.The only girls to attend that school, were the ones they couldn’t control at home. And the worst of those were my best friends from Muleshoe and Amarillo who kept pouting that they didn’t have their cars.

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      • How nice of you to look up the Mustang Ghia! Yes, ours was tan on top and a tan interior, and originally belonged to my mother-in-law who gave it to us when she ‘graduated’ to a Jag (big mistake, that). At the time we lived in rural Quebec where every Spring the roads experienced frost heaves which were hell on the underside of that Ford. Eventually we sold it to a car enthusiast who had it lovingly parked indoors and rarely drove it.

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  7. Yep George – might as act your age and give those youngsters something to talk about as you go a little crazy now and then !

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