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April 8, 2012

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As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney

OpalToney7-24.jpg (37075 bytes)Seasons...
Well, I’m looking forward for spring, but when I woke up this morning and opened the door to go feed the cats and give Son #2’s dog food, whose name is “Bounce a Little,” but it takes quite a lot to feed him. I have to watch, or the cats wouldn’t get a bite!
I enjoy fall and winter when Santa comes, but spring is my favorite.

The Last Word: I enjoy them all! – O.T.

 

honeyandflag.jpg (61206 bytes)The View From Here
By Katherine Veno

Where are the great cars?
Growing up in the ’50s and ’60s was a period of time when cars were an extension of your personality. Cars were big, or fast, or small and sleek, sporty, and different. The young people miss so much these days in our world of boxy foreign imports. We drove American made cars, and if somebody had a foreign car it was from England or Italy. I think I remember one in my senior class.
Whenever somebody sold their car to another person it was instantly recognizable as the original owner’s car. Cars were linked to their owners or drivers. You did not have to get up close enough to tell if it was a Chevy or a Ford, and you did not have to read the name of the side or the rear of the vehicle. They were solid statements and had their own looks to stand on. They did not need to be studied closely to tell what year they were either. The models changed every single year and looked different. There were colors that were new and special to a vehicle or a series.
I drove a bright red Ford Falcon Sprint convertible with red imitation leather interior and a white drop top. It is what defined my senior year and my subsequent years in college. It was a gift from my father and probably one of the finest cars I have ever owned.
With a three-speed on the column, I could shift with the best of the guys. No automatic transmission for me. I was way too “cool” for that. Some people had automatics in their Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes or their Chevrolet Novas. But I fell in love with shifting gears, and it has lasted a lifetime.
Come Friday night I would pick up my girlfriends and out we would go to drag Broadway. The North to South route in Tyler culminated in a place called The Derrick, which was a forerunner of a Sonic. There were real carhops and all the cars were there. Broadway was not crowded in those days, and Tyler was a small town. Kids from surrounding towns came to hit the main drag. It was straight out of American Graffiti.
Thunderbirds, Corvettes, Pontiac GTOs, Barracudas, and big-finned Chevrolets lined the streets. They shone brilliant and clean with wax jobs under the drive-in lights.
Speaking of drive-in movies, they were a great place to show off as well. We would drive real slow so everybody could see us and we could see them. Being seen on the “scene” was what it was all about.
There were drag races outside the city limits. All the kids would go there and watch one great muscle car against another kick up dust and blow out smoke as they burned rubber at the take off.
Cars were something really special then. They were not just an automobile or a way of transportation. When the new models came out we had to actually go to a dealership to see them. It was very exciting because the new cars never looked like the old cars. Good luck trying to tell one car from another on the road today, as they are seemingly so similar.
My dad bought a 1959 Chevrolet. It was bronze and white. Two toned cars were all the rage. It had big curving tailfins with six red tail lights. The front lights looked like eyes. It had a huge steering wheel and was loaded with chrome trim. It was big, flashy, bold, and drank a lot of gasoline at under 50 cents a gallon. He was so proud of it he washed and waxed it every single Saturday in the driveway.
For a big school formal dance, my date picked me up in a big Ford Galaxy 500. It was turquoise and white and had white tuck and roll interior. My dress was white and had a big scratchy net petticoat. He had to push the dress in behind me to close the door. We rode to the dance with the top down and dragged the Broadway strip before going to the dance to see and be seen. I had so much Aqua Net in my hair that it never moved. Not one strand of hair blew into my Angel Face powder or stuck to my Candy Pink Revlon lipstick.
The ’69 Trans Am, the ’70 Dodge Charger, were the kings of the “new” muscle cars as the transformation began to shape the wave of the future. There was plenty of gasoline, and comfort and size were big trends. When somebody got a car, everybody knew it. Tyler was a small town then. Broadway was lined with fields, not malls and stores. Traffic was not a problem.
I still remember a ’69 triple black Chevrolet SS. It looked bad, which made it very good. All black inside, the interior was soft to the touch and the lowness of the vehicle made you feel like you were part of the car. I may not remember his name, but I remember that car. That is how it was in those days. The cars were a huge part of everything about your personal statement. He parked it under a streetlight, and when he came around to open the door for me and took my hand to help me out of the car, I felt like a teenage queen. That was just a tiny piece of the magic these cars brought to our lives in the day.
Then we all grew up, graduated high school, and went on about the art of living our lives. Some of our friends got killed in Vietnam, and the lure of dragging and racing lost a lot of allure for us. There were missing cars on the magic corridor, and parts of us were damaged as well. Because a lot of us never came back, things changed while we were not looking. By the time we did go back for our first high school reunion, the first thing I noticed is that all the great cars had disappeared. The lumbering giants of the road were going the way of innocence.
The kids today miss out on so much. Our fathers had rifles hanging up on the back window of pickup trucks and I do not remember anybody getting shot or killed. All the boys carried knives to school, and I do not recall any stabbings. Nobody stole your purse at the store. It really was a better time as far as emotions and feeling safe. Gasoline was about 25 cents a gallon, and we did not worry about mileage. We only worried about how great those cars looked, and it seemed it would always be that way.
Unfortunately, nothing stays the same. But at least now I have a microwave.

 

EmilyLundy4-2.jpg (36194 bytes)Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy

Making the news...
I made the news list this week. On the way to church Sunday, I took a less traveled road to deliver a newspaper article to someone. I decided to continue my route, as I like new landscape. I slowly went around a curve, and let my front left tire slip off an obscured culvert in all the foliage. The ditch below was quite deep. Before I realized what was happening, my new car kept slipping, stopping only when the top of the car was at the bottom of the ravine. All of this seemed to happen in slow motion.
I thought I might be hidden, and no one would come this way for a long time. With everything falling from the bottom to the top, I tried to get my key out of the ignition to use my panic button. Confusion took over; even left and right have never been my friends.
Finally the key came out, and I heard a woman screaming behind me as I pushed some buttons. I could even open the trunk for an escape route. The front windshield was crushed, but my seatbelt had kept me tightly against the back of the seat. I began gathering what I could, as rescue help gathered in front and behind me. I opened my front door which let me out partly; a new person in town pulled me to standing position. I didn’t choose to go to the hospital. The Fire Chief took me home.
All day I felt physically fine and lucky. But the next day, the mental part hit me. For the second time in years, I had wrecked a pretty car we had not even made the first payment on. I wanted to go somewhere and cry – still do. With all my other blunders, I have became a high maintenance mom and wife.
 

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