When Your History Catches Up To Your Future
To say I had an unusual upbringing would be an understatement. While my friends were headed to conventional vacation places like Disney or Cedar Point on a Memorial Day Weekend, my parents would pack up their 1926 Dodge Brothers Touring Sedan with a picnic basket (complete with a portable liquor cabinet)(it was almost okay to drive a little tipsy in the 70’s) and ride off to something like The Milan Melon Festival in Milan, Ohio. On the way home we’d hit The Blue Hole which was a huge blue hole in the ground that was deeper than the Marianna Trench. Of course, know one knew who Marianna was much less her “trench,” so making irresponsible claims like that was pretty safe.
Over the years, my parents owned 10-15 different antique cars. By the time I turned 18, I had probably visited 20-30 different states from the back seat of at least 5 of these cars. My parents got involved in the car hobby, to the point that my mother was the registrar of numerous car shows and my father published an award winning old car collector magazine for 19 years. My parents loved going on car tours, where people from all over the country head to somewhere, like South Dakota. The car tour organizers give everyone a set of instructions and a map (this was many years before GPS), with breakfast and lunch stops mixed in with trips to Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower (THE mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and Wall Drug. That trip stands out more than others because of a visit to
The Wild Mountain Main, who appeared on “That’s Incredible” for carving the alphabet on a pencil with a chainsaw. I remember being 12 years old and instructed by The Wild Mountain Man and his remaining 8 fingers to “sit on my pig” which was a pig he carved out of a old tree trunk. My father gladly paid $10 for a chainsaw carved photo frame with an old fashioned pop top can ring stapled to the back as the hook. Traveling in older cars was always an adventure. They weren’t the most reliable forms of transportation, and I spent many hours on the side of the road waiting for a generous soul to pull over and give us a jump start, or have a jack so we could fix a flat tire. Car shows were my least favorite, because some people took their car hobby a little too seriously. Not only were some of the car show guys really nasty, they spent the entire time yelling at kids to stay away from the $200,000+ car they would never drive.
After graduating from college and moving to Florida, I never went on another car tour again. It was time to move on, settle down, get married, start a career, and be more practical. When my parents passed away, the cars remaining were a 1967 Chevy Impala convertible, and the 1926 Dodge. Freshly divorced, I didn’t have the space or the means to care for either of the cars so I ended up selling them both. For those of you who ever drive by Lenny’s in Clearwater and see a 1967 Chevy Impala in baby blue….that used to be mine! Anyhow…my fond memories of the car hobby came back to me full force yesterday.
Doug and I bought a golf cart the other month, so we can get around the resort we bought a condo at. Yesterday, we did our first golf cart parade. Doug decked out the golf cart in American flags and LED lights. Thanks to the wonders of bluetooth and a built in Boss sound system, we played patriotic songs as we drove around the neighborhood in the golf cart parade. I made seat covers for the golf cart (bomb pop fabric). One of the stops, someone gave each of us a little shot of Fireball! The wind blew through my hair like it did in 1976, and all was right with the world. It may not have been a 1926 Dodge…but our 2016 golf cart is much more reliable, much cheaper, and just as much fun. I look to many more fun connections to my history with the antique car hobby through our golf cart, aka The Red Rider (named for The Red Rider BB Gun from A Christmas Story, Doug’s favorite movie).
This Memorial Day, I am eternally thankful and grateful for the men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. We are free to choose our career (I chose not to do chain saw carvings for a living) we are free to choose where we want to visit (Go to Lenny’s, the food is amazing), and we are free to run around the community in a golf cart with a 4ft blow up figure holding a sign that says “Land of the free, GNOME of the brave.”