Who’s The Old Guy Driving the Red Convertible?

Why is it that whenever  I see a shinny red sports convertible driving down the road it’s driven (a) a man, and (b) he’s got white hair.

No offense to any white-haired men out there driving red sports cars, but…

I rarely see a kid or even a millennial toolin’ down the highway in a jacked up beefed up sports car of any color. It’s almost always a man. An older man.

My first guess is that no one under 60 can even afford an old super sport Vet or a Pontiac GTO. Cars of that vintage are rare and well pampered. Most are lovingly polished and primmed and taken out only on fully sunny days. My second guess is that most millennials haven’t ever heard of a Super Stock Dodge or a 1969 RS/SS Camaro. They’d rather have a  Lexus LS 460 L or any kind of BMW. (In most cases I don’t blame them.)

But back to the little old men.

Why do they get to have all the fun?

You remember Jan and Dean…The Little Old Lady From Pasadena…

The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
Has a pretty little flowerbed of white gardenias;
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
But parked in a rickety old garage,
There’s a brand new shiny super stocked Dodge.

Okay. So here’s a granny. Like me. She probably has a couple of kids and a bunch of grand kids. She’s probably worked all her life as a waitress or a baker or a receptionist. Has a tiny pension and lives in a run-down 80-year-old house. All she’s got are a few scraggly gardenia bushes to make her smile.

And ev’rybody’s sayin’ that there’s nobody meaner than
The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.
She drives real fast and she drives real hard,
She’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard.
It’s The Little Old Lady From Pasadena!

Everybody’s saying there’s nobody meaner. Let them try and figure out Medicare and pay the doctor bills and live on social security and trying to walk around the block with a replaced knee and osteoporosis. It happens to all of us.

If you see her on the strip, don’t try to choose her,
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
You might have a go-er, but you’ll never lose her;
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
She’s gonna get a ticket now, sooner or later,
‘Cause she can’t keep her foot off the accelerator.

So she speeds a little bit. Isn’t it better than following those old fogies that drive 20 miles under the speed limit? Have you ever been behind a driver on the country roads that slow down and look at every field, every farm, every animal? Heck — I’m married to one.

You’ll see her all the time, just gettin’ her kicks now,
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
With her four speed stick and a four – two – six now;
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
The guys come to race her from miles around,
But she’ll give ’em a length, then she’ll shut’em down.

By the time you get to my age, you get tired of all the bull$hit in the world. You get tired of your taxes going up, gas prices, mortgages, and insurance payments.. You drive home from a rough day at work and all you want to do is freebird the ride home. You’re leavin’ the 9-5 behind! Freedom! Fresh air! Who cares if you’re only going home to catch up on Breaking Bad reruns?

So back to the original statement. White haired old men driving spiffy red convertibles. You may look sexy, you may look debonair, you may have earned that red Corvette convertible you strut around town with.

But just wait. Granny and her red convertible Vespa will be right on your tail.

(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)

Garage-Envy

gold-chrome-wrapped-bugatti-veyron-owned-by-flo-rida-looks-grotesque-61670_1I am suffering from a bout of garage-envy these days.

I know it’s not the most controversial or personal subject to stress about, but for me it’s a malady that can never really be cured.

I don’t think I’ve had a garage in 40 years. First it was growing up at home, then an apartment, a townhouse, then a bungalow, then a B&B, then a bottom flat rental, then my current house. Unfortunately, none of of these humble abodes bode a garage for me and my flashy vehicle.

We have a pole barn/garage these days, but there’s no way to squeeze my fancy 2005 black Buick Sable in there — not with the boats, decoys, snow plow blade, workbench, mowers, toys, yard rickrack, spare tires, boat parts, camper, trailers, and other assorted oddities my husband cannot live without.

I know living “in the country” (as so many people like to refer to a mile out of town) has its perks, but often garages aren’t one of them. When we had our house built, there was barely money to build the house, no less an attached garage. We needed a pole barn (which is almost the size of the house) to house country paraphernalia, but the paraphernalia soon turned to collections and old stock and a holding spot for my son’s paraphernalia until he moves in a month.

Most of the time I don’t mind going straight out the door and a few steps over to my car to go to work. But come winter, those few steps become starting the car, scraping the windows, wiping the foot of snow off the hood, losing my shoe in the drift, etc. I envy those who have remote start, heated seats, Sirus music — anything and everything I don’t have.

Come spring I kinda get over the freezing fact, but move onto the real garage-envy stage. Shiny, clean cars laugh at my dirt splattered, mud puddly fancy 2005 beast. It’s like they’re saying, “Ha! I slept inside last night! Where did YOU sleep?” I then begin to feel more like a hillbilly and less of a contributing member of the work force who happens to drive an antique car.

I know you say, “Go and build a garage!” At this point in my life, I’d rather spend a couple of thousand dollars elsewhere. Like going to Ireland or Italy or buying a hot tub or something. Or saving for that fantasy world called retirement.

And besides — with my luck, that cute little 2-car garage next to my house would fill up with outdoor paraphernalia faster than you can say Jack Rabbit. Who will also have no place to live.

Too many duck decoys in the way.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Abandoned Cars

 

A silent sentinel stands guard

car2

Over abandoned fields and woods

car1

Their glory now only their failing memory

7

Did I once carry children?

3

Did I go to the prom?

17

Did someone die here?

10

Memory rots as their steel turns to rust

8

Their framework as abandoned as their dreams

car1

Their stories known only to the winds of the past

a9995a8370b390713bcf4ddbaf346a44

Shall We Dance?

13847189383851383937701220Life has been in transition lately. Good, mediocre, up, down, cloudy, grey, with a hint of sunshine now and then. Spring in Wisconsin. But I have to tell you, I’m so glad I’m here to be good, mediocre, up, down, cloudy, and grey with a hint of sunshine.

For about six months ago I took a tumble unlike anything I have ever experienced. I am here to tell  you that I’m alive and well. As for the story…it was one of those things that could happen to anyone. A slick spot, a little curve, and before you know it you’re tumbling down the embankment on the side of the road. How instantly your life can change…in a flash, in one long, drawn out moment.

There is no doubt a faerie’s touch saved my derriere that morning. Driving one way, sliding, turning around, and double tumbling down the little slope took less than  30 seconds. The memories of that moment in time are fuzzy now…all I remember is thinking, “I’m rolling. Okay. I’m rolling over.” There was no panic; no real fear. I think I was too stupid to realize how dangerous the moment really was. When I stopped rolling, landing on the tires, all I could think  was, “My husband is going to kill me.”

Funny what thoughts come across your mind when you’re probably in shock and don’t know it.

My husband was neither mad nor murderous. It wasn’t until I had the car towed home that I realized what I was had done  was dance with the devil. I literally walked away from disaster. From paralysis and  death and worse. Afterwards people told me stories of some who weren’t so lucky. I don’t know if they meant to make me feel better or not.

Funny what thoughts come across other’s minds when they don’t know what to say.

My life has not drastically changed since that dance, but every morning I say an extra thank you prayer. I call my kids and grandbaby more often. I always say something nice to someone — to their face, not behind their back. I know what’s important in my life. And I strive to be a better person. To my family, to my friends, and especially to myself. I smell the roses and and the green grass and keep an eye on the sunrise and the sunset.

And I take a leap of faith and think that I was saved for a bigger purpose in life. Like keeping us all entertained.

Shall we dance?

 

 

Granny and the Beast

CAM00332My husband picked me up last Friday after work so that we could head to the big/ger city and go to Menards to pick up some shingles for our roof. In most cases that is nothing to take notice of. People pick up their own building supplies all the time. But few drive there in the most pathetic of pick up trucks you could find.

He came and picked me up in a 1986 green/gray pickup truck that had seen better days by 1996, yet still keeps on rumbling. Various parts are welded steel making up for other various parts, the step to the cab dips every time someone puts a foot on it, and the tailpipe is practically falling off. It’s got a weird smell to it — like something found its eternal resting place somewhere in there where the sun don’t shine. It’s the kind of vehicle that I would never follow on the highway. It’s got an up-to-date license plate and insurance. According to my husband, it “runs good.” I suppose that’s true, as long as you don’t sit at a stoplight too long. It’s loud and kinda lopsided, and during the winter has a snow plow bolted to it. Since the controls for the plow are a little shaky, we often get road rut instead of road plowed.

I have to tell you, I was embarrassed for anyone from work seeing me climb into that beast. I mean, here is this 5 foot 1, kinda round granny trying to put her foot up on a step that was more knee-high, grabbing the seat and door frame, trying not to stick my derriere out for public inspection. We rumbled away, reminiscent of the bomber cars I used to watch crash into each other at the raceway up North. It does have seat belts, so at least if the door popped open I’d still be in the cab.  Climbing out of the front seat was a treat, too. I’m too short for my feet to land delicately on the ground; it’s about a 7 inch difference between my dangling tootsies and the ground, so there’s not quite enough room to get into a landing stance. So each exit is has a weird and jolting landing pattern to it.

Why do we drive such run down things? Why do we endanger the public — and ourselves — by driving down the highway in such…luxury?

I’m sure we all know someone who owns and drives a beater. I haven’t owned a brand new car since I graduated from high school. In 1970. My husband and I have done well with used vehicles, often bought from one relative or another who gets to buy that new car smell. I haven’t had a car payment in years, and with our finances up and down like Wisconsin weather, this is not the time to try one on for size. So I have no problem with used vehicles. But there’s a difference between “used” and “beat up.”

The Beast is meant for country work.  It plows, it pulls cars out of ditches, and it carries heavy loads, saving us (and others) hundreds of dollars on delivery fees. It’s not pretty, but it’s practical. At least in the barest sense of the word. It’s not scary small (like some of those one-person crash cars), and you sit high enough to see the road long before it curves. I pat it every time I climb down from its heights, thankful that we have such an enduring vehicle that year after year gives its all to make our lives easier.

But I’m thinking that pat is more in thanks of getting me home in one piece. Keep patting.

 

Repeat on a Saturday Morning

rI’m supposed to be vacuuming the house at the moment; the kitchen the next battle ground. But you know what happens when creativity pokes you in the back like a stick. I started organizing my laptop, which led to making sure I had copies of all my blogs, which led me to the one I did a few weeks ago about being published, which led me to thinking that maybe not all were able to follow the link, which led me to….well, you can figure out the rest.

For those who might have wanted to read my short story but never got a chance to follow the yellow brick road, here it is. I hope you like it.

We Speak as One

 

I don’t know how many of us are here now. Our weight steadily increased until one day the machines lay silent.  The parameters of our existence really do not bother us much anymore. Weight and length and color are nothing more than shadowed measurements of something once thought important.

We are tired, some of us more than others.  Our collective consciousness is slowly seeping out of this world, thoughts of ever-after more a smile than a possibility.  I think there are six of us here on this flatbed. We mouth colors of Regal Black and Arctic White and Matador Red, but no sound comes out.  Perhaps that is what we were once called.  It doesn’t really matter now.  Our identities no longer lay within the tints of our shell. The cold September wind is whipping around us, rhythmically snapping some long forgotten trim against someone’s bumper.  We lay together, six tall, waiting for our last road trip, trying to remember what we once were.

As we try to sort our individualities from of this pile of crushed and bent steel, wisps of once-upon-a-time mingle and become one long thought:  “I carried the homecoming queen in the high school parade was the fastest car in Jefferson County remember children fighting in my backseat on their way to grandma’s my engine never really ran the way it was supposed to.”  Our minds are slow now, almost non-existent.  I don’t recall if it was me that celebrated the millennium at a park in New Jersey or the Nova two stacks above me.  One of our back seats is full of motor oil; someone else’s is full of blood.  It’s these sorts of sleepy memories the six of us share now as our bodies are crushed to one-eighth of our former glory.  The white Toyota on top tries to boast of big V8’s and posi-traction, but the collective knows Toyotas never had those kinds of engines.  Red Bel Air doesn’t remember what year he came off the assembly line, but is almost positive the first song played on his radio was “Love Me Tender.”  The rest of us don’t know if that is true — most barely remember yesterday.

We try to recall a time when the roads were ours.  When our owners rushed home to wash us, took us on drives through the countryside, sat in front of houses while lovers said goodbye.  Someone says there was a time when pride of ownership was the foundation of his existence; the car on the top hasn’t been around long enough to know what that means.  One of us has been abused since we were bought off the lot; someone else swears they were pampered until they were driven off the road in a thunderstorm.

Black Skylark doesn’t send many vibrations through us anymore.  He lies at the bottom of this crushed steel heap, his days of glory long gone.  He remembers little, as his body was mangled beyond recognition by a high-speed drunk driver one Saturday night.  But it is just as well, he moans.  Our purpose was never to last beyond our usefulness. AMC Concord right beneath me is ever the optimist. Thinks his owner will come and reclaim him from the shadows of the abyss before it is too late. If I had much emotion left I would tell him it’s already too late. There will be no reclamation for us. Nothing but transition.

The platform on which we lay is cold and hard. There are no wrinkles, no folds, no contours of steel as with us.  We hear we are leaving soon — the one, last, great adventure.  Words in the distance barely reach us.  Scrap yard.  Recycling plant. Shredder.  Those words are alien to us.  Stick shift. Transmission. Spoilers.  Now these are words we understand.  Words that ring true about what we once were.  Who we are still.

Tired now, our collective efforts to share one last glimpse into our pasts are failing.  Style and accessories mean little when you are crushed flat against another.  Perhaps we were once fresh and new, but all that is left is this pathetic tower of crumpled steel and broken dreams

We…Speak…As…One

We…Speak…No……More……