Gee, our old LaSalle ran great!
Including: Oh, and was her face red!
From The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: The Car Guys.
“A group of mature but distinguished gentlemen meet every Friday at 8 a.m. for breakfast and talk. While you might think the group should be called something like the Dubious Achieving Auto Mechanics, the group has no name. These fellows share breakfast and swap stories, mostly about the automobiles they have restored, owned and repaired over the years. They show little evidence of formal education, but I would posit that their knowledge acquired over the years getting these mostly vintage and classic autos to be driveable would be comparable to a master’s degree at an accredited university.
“We gather weekly in downtown Hastings, driving our truly vintage autos and have, for all practical purposes, an unadvertised Car Show every Friday morning. Steve drove his ’63 Chey Impala hardtop, but last week he roared in behind the wheel of a Deuce Coupe. Oh, that was a beautiful, deep purple paint job that shined like a mirror. It has a Ford frame, powered by a 350 Chevy engine and all kinds of self-manufactured parts, but it runs. It runs darn good, and it runs fast.
“Karl and Tony had the older cars: Ford Model T’s. I rode in Tony’s 1925 T, but he also has two older T’s: a coupe and a pickup. My old Chevy, an ’85 Corvette, was somewhat new compared to the Centenarian cars. There are a couple of ’57 Chevys, one of your father’s Oldsmobiles, and you just never know what someone will bring next week.
“They’ve been meeting forever (or so it seems) and let attendees partake of a bit of nostalgia, a time when these cars defined the landscape of America and the technologies that changed our culture and pervaded all of society. Guys talk not just about their cars, the one they wish they still had, but they also share their dreams and their everyday experiences. One fellow shared a story about an event when he and his wife were alone, high in the mountains of Colorado. She had to pee, but no facilities up there, so he suggested she go along the parking area, since no one else was around. No sooner did she start when along came a bus of Asian tourists, taking tons of pictures. Yep, this was embarrassing, but we all had a good laugh and thought nothing less about those involved.
Another fellow talked about his wife as well. He explained that the smallest perturbation from her daily routine results in her going ballistic. It seemed like a mathematical expression of temporal development whereby a nonlinear dynamical system demonstrates how small changes in input may result in large aberrations of output that are sometimes unexpected and, indeed, sometimes unwelcome.
“While we engage in conversation, drink coffee, and relive fond memories, many of our wives, including the Good Wife, are meeting elsewhere in town at the same time. You know, I am not concerned in the least what or who they talk about. I just thoroughly enjoy spending that time with the ‘car guys.’”
Our pets, ourselves
Friendly Bob of Fridley writes: “Subject: Big-dog stories.
“Every now and then, I like to look back through recent Bulletin Board archives, usually to see if there happened to be an entry that rang a ‘Hey, remember this?’ bell in my head. The entry from a month or so ago, from The Astronomer of Nininger about the large St. Bernard named General and the barking horse trailer, fit the bill just fine.
“I have several ‘large dog’ stories, but how about we do one at a time.
“A ‘few’ years back, after I got out of the Navy, I decided it was high time I lost some weight and got into shape a bit. Running! That’s the ticket. Minimal investment in equipment, flexible schedule, and the opportunity to enjoy fresh outside air. It all actually worked out quite well: a 50-pound weight loss, better sleep, jealousy from my high-school class at my 10-year graduation reunion, to name a few of the good things. We’ll not go into the negatives right now.
“Doing this running was a real learning experience as well — mapping out routes, avoiding problem areas, and so forth. I generally ran short routes in colder weather and expanded them as the seasonal changes brought us the nice stuff, giving the need to figure out routes of varying lengths. I also tried to find where there might be animal hazards. Little dogs usually have sharp teeth and like to nip at your heels with them. I learned pretty well how to handle them.
“But this is a BIG-dog story. One of my running routes (six miles) took me through ‘old downtown’ New Brighton. I really liked the variety of scenery along the route, and I did not have to cross any busy thoroughfares. Along 10th Street N.W., there were some older homes with fairly long driveways. As I was passing one such home on one of my runs, out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a large . . . no, BIG . . . St. Bernard. He (or, of course, she) picked up his/her head to look at me, emitted a low ‘Woof,’ and began galloping toward me. I thought: ‘Gee . . . sure hope that HUGE dog is tied up.’ It wasn’t. As it closed in on me with more, lower and louder ‘WOOFS’ and ‘ROWFS,’ I could only picture myself as lunch, and I felt the hair on the back of my neck standing up.
“Then, to my relief, a young man (presumably the owner) appeared by the house and, in a firm, but not too loud voice, said: ‘FLUFFY!’
“Fluffy? Well, I guess I needn’t be afraid of a dog named Fluffy, even if it was the size of a horse. The dog put on the brakes and skidded to a stop with one final low growl. And I never saw the gargantuan St. Bernard again!
“By the way, I love dogs and generally get along with them very well. Sometimes I wonder how an encounter like this would turn out today, what with the increased wisdom and maturity that time has surely imbued.”
LeoJEOSP writes: “Subject: The Helmet.
“Shortly before the first practice for the Fall 1968 Sioux City Catholic elementary football league, all team members were assembled for uniform sizing. Everyone’s fitting was quick, except mine. All of the largest helmets were tried, before it was concluded that none of the helmets St. Michael’s owned would work for me. The coach began contacting other elementary and high schools, with no successful results. The coach next began calling local colleges, and Morningside College had one helmet that would fit me. The coach told me that the helmet had been worn for one college season and had been unused for nearly 10 years.
“My hat size is 8-plus. Hats that boast ‘One size fits all’ rarely fit me. I was 6 feet tall and weighed 160 pounds at the first football practice. I am still 6 feet tall, but 160 pounds is a distant memory.”
One for the books
John in Highland writes: “Subject: I Like Peanut Butter.
“Recently I was listening to the ‘Oldies’ station and heard ‘Peanut Butter,’ by the Marathons.
“It brought back memories of my high-school Chemistry teacher. Let’s just call him Ralph.
“Ralph would usually start off class with comments about the happenings of the day, often with some chemical relevance. One day he was bemused by a struggle in the courts between Skippy and Jif. It seems that the makers of the No. 1 and No.2 brands of peanut butter were locked in a multimillion-dollar struggle over the advertising of these multibillion-dollar products. The issues included claims of ‘no sugar added’ and the color of the ‘jar caps.’
“One day he recited the advertising claim of a major medicine company: ‘Rolaids consumes 47 times its weight in excess stomach acid.’ ‘Scientists everywhere are trying to figure that one out!’ he said.”
Writes Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “Playing Leapfrog on the flowers.”
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede writes: “Come every August, the nearby daylilies are blooming. They are very good about spreading seeds, so there seem to be more of them every summer.
“The downward-facing blossoms are different from most flowers.
“I was happy to see a couple of butterflies interested in the blossoms. I would think there is enough there to satisfy their needs for a decent meal.
“The red and yellow blossom are in the same family but with very different-looking blossoms.
“When I see them like this, I sometimes think of them as a choir of blossoms performing for us bystanders.
“I appreciate their visual ‘music.'”
Our theater of seasons
Climate Change Division?
A late-July note from Rusty of St. Paul: “Two weeks ago, my son Nick and I were walking on Long Island, one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, off the coast of the Bayfield Peninsula in Northern Wisconsin. By the old lighthouse, we found ripe fruit-bearing blueberry plants — amongst the poison ivy.
“Blueberries are an August fruit up here. So these were two to four weeks early. Nick pointed out the plants were in direct sun and off a cement sidewalk, so had lots of sun and heat. They were delicious!
“I read in the Pioneer Press today of two apple varieties that are ready now: Oriole and Quinte. Never heard of them. Apples are autumn fruits, eh?
Except for the two ultra-early varieties we expect at the State Fair in late August.
“Yesterday in St. Paul, I was at Lunds and they were selling local corn (from a suburb outside of St. Paul) for 25 cents an ear. July 26. Sweet corn in Minnesota is a mid- to late-August treat. I bought one ear, ate it and it was very good, but not August-excellent sweet.
“If I live long enough, I will expect sweet corn in St. Paul in April!”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We hate to break the news, Rusty, but you won’t! Alas.
What is right with people?
Or: Today’s helpful hint
From Al B of Hartland: “Subject: Don’t forget to remember.
“I visited a neighbor lady named Beulah, who had spent years in a nursing home. I told my brother that I’d seen Beulah. He told me that was quite a trick, because she’d been dead for years. I said no one had told her.
“He wasn’t the only one who thought Beulah had died.
“I stop at nursing homes often, even when I’m traveling. When I visit homes far from home, I ask to see someone who likes company but doesn’t get much. I listen to their stories and want them to know not everyone thinks they’re gone.
“As a kid, I was told I should make something of myself. I’m trying to be someone who listens to the stories of others.”
Band Name of the Day: The BIG Dogs
Website of the Day: The Views From the Top