LITTLE PIECE OF HEAVEN

Paradise was once found on the banks of the Catawba River. It had to be the Garden of Eden. Some three miles by crooked road from the river was my home. I still walk and run the old river road today, although only in my memories and my dreams. In between the river and my home were nearly seven hundred acres of heaven. Seven hundred acres of pastures, forests, fields and ten “fishin’” lakes, one a five-acre “pond” we called the “Pettus Pond” where I caught the biggest blue gill of my life, another, twenty acres of water called the “Bowers Big Lake” where I caught the nearly nine-pound largemouth still adorning the wall in my study. Seven hundred acres of playground nirvana.

H.L. Bowers, my Uncle Hugh Wilson’s former carpenter’s helper and true American success story, had purchased or as the locals said, “bought up” nearly seven hundred acres of forest and pasture land sitting on the east bank of the Catawba. Farther east, the border of his land stopped just short of Highway 521. The reason it stopped short was a cluster of small farm houses, fields, pastures and forest owned collectively by my parents, my grandfather and grandmother along with my grandfather’s brother’s family and their sister and her husband. There were other land owners as well but the main dirt road leading to the old Collins’s house that Bower’s would eventually convert into a lodge ran right through the middle of our property. The Bowers’ “land” and the road to it was where I fell in love for the very first time.

My grandmother taught me to fish, the nuances of tying on a gold number six hook, treading on a wiggling red worm, where to look for fish on the bed and what the signs were. “Can’t you smell ‘um?” “See those pot holes?” “Make sure you keep the tip of your hook covered!” “Look at your shadow! If you can see your shadow so can the fish.” “Keep your pole tip high!” One of her fishing buddies, Miss Maggie Cureton, would say, “She sho’ nuff’ can smell deem fishes.” She also thought Nannie might have sold her soul to the devil or practiced West African Vodun because she fished according to the signs of the moon, wind direction and weather forecast. “East is when fish bite least, west is when fish bite the best, north neither man nor beast go forth, and south blows the worm into the fishes’ mouth.” No it didn’t quite rhyme but a full moon, wind from the south or south-east with a rising barometer…time to go fishing. There were times Nannie ignored the signs and, likely as not, she would not be shutout.

We began to fish the Pettus Pond in the late Fifties or early Sixties. Named for our Aunt Bess’s family, it sat on land purchased from them. We were blessed to fish there. Mr. Bower’s was being neighborly but he was not neighborly to everyone. NO TRESPASSING signs were posted but those signs did nothing to deter the locals who succumbed to the siren’s call of water filled with fat blue gills, large-mouth bass and catfish. Large fines or being escorted off his land at the wrong end of a double barreled shotgun did not seem very neighborly. I heard many people refer to Mr. Bowers in less than glowing terms due to his reluctance to allow fishing on his land. It took me until adulthood to realize why he might not want his ponds over fished and I assure you they would have been.

My grandmother was in hot demand as a fishing partner. Friends from all around called to set up “fishing dates” even though she was careful not to fish the Pettus Pond all of the time. She did not want to “over stay her welcome” so to speak and only trusted partners got to go to the Pettus Pond…and her “fishing crazy” grandson. It wasn’t where she fished, it was how she fished. Rarely did the fish avoid her hook and her “luck” seemed to transfer to those who fished with her regardless of the water she put her hook in.

Nannie was a traditionalist. Cane pole, heavy line, a number six gold hook with a split shot sinker she crimped onto the line. A paper bag inside of a vegetable basket held her fishing gear along with a can of hand dug red worms, a canning jar of water and a handful of individually wrapped hard candy mints that had softened in the afternoon summer sun. Most of the time she chose to fish without a bobber and simply kept her bait moving until something hit it. I remember her battling a seven pounder into submission. Send it to a taxidermist? You must be joking. Weigh it but then filet it, bread it in cornmeal and put it into a cast iron skillet with a half inch of melted lard or Crisco. Fry until crispy and then eat. True to her poor farming background, nothing was too big to eat nor too small to keep. Pan fish deemed too small for the pan were never-the-less hauled home and incorporated into the garden providing nitrogen to help produce her sweet corn and tomatoes. “Waste not, want not.”

We were happy as larks to fish the Pettus Pond until the Bowers Big Lake was built. Situated below the Pettus Pond, looking at it from a distance was like placing fudge brownies in front of a food-a-holic handcuffed to his chair. Despite the big bluegills and largemouth bass we were catching, in my youthful mind, “The River Stix” had to be just below the Pettus dam. Somehow I got into my head, the bigger the water, the bigger the fish. In this case I was correct but as I get older I find I miss the smaller confines of the Pettus Pond or maybe I just miss my grandmother.

Today it is late April and two days past the full moon. It would seem we have had our three days of spring and summer is now upon us despite the early date. I’m probably going fishing tomorrow evening provided I get my honey do list completed. I don’t have the passion for fishing that I used to have and haven’t since 1999 when my favorite fishing partner left this world. Don’t get me wrong. I still fish but it might be for the same reason I have for my much too large garden. I know I could buy more food with what it cost me to raise mine but the food is sweeter because of the memories. I have the same sweet memories when I fish.

Don Miller has also written three books which may be purchased or downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

STANDING TO PEE

My early morning doctor’s appointment played hell with my gastro-intestinal system. “Excuse me I must avail myself to your facility.” “Straight through the door,” the pretty nurse directed. Do you hate to use public bathrooms as much as I do? What do we have here? Unisex? Oh wow! Male and Female figures so close together they could be holding hands, the symbols on the wall not couples actually in the bathroom. What symbol do we use for those who are not sure? Wait I just used it to end my question.

I knocked and entered and was treated to a spacious, clean and most importantly empty bathroom. I checked to make sure there were no perverts hiding in the cupboard. Nothing but toilet paper…no transgender females lurking in the shadows. Nothing but water in the toilet tank but DAMN THE LUCK, who left the lid down. Don’t they know…wait that’s the way it should be.

Because there was no reading material, I contemplated the squabbles being debated over bathroom use and thought about the arguments people had been using in the wake of transgender laws being enacted in several states. I don’t want my daughter or granddaughter in a bathroom, or any room, with a pervert or pedophile but what about the pervert or pedophile peeing with you in the next urinal over? We don’t seem to be too concerned about our male children. I have only had contact with one pedophile…that I know of…and that would be METAPHORICAL contact. The man in the three-piece suit and shiny wingtips asked, “Hey boy, you want to see some dirty pictures?” Yeah but where were the pictures of women?

My brother first alerted me of a theory that I will call the “shiny bauble” theory. Like a parakeet enamored with a shiny bell, we are given something insignificant and “shiny” to focus our energies on while the media, certain politicians or our government walks out the door with the silver. I believe it. So much about war on whites, Black Lives Matter, war on religion, war on gays and lesbians, war on marriage, war on cops, war on Beyoncé, etc. So little about…well take your pick. We probably should just call it war on humanity or maybe just a war on my sensibilities. To quote POGO, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

Funny how we got through the last hundred years without bathrooms being an issue…well make that an issue for those of us with cognitive dissonance. Bathrooms have never been safe places even when they were one holers out by the barn. I would guess a lot more bullying has taken place in school bathrooms and locker rooms than anywhere else but it is better just to ignore it. Right! Leave it alone and it will only get worse.

Nothing more than shiny baubles to keep me from asking myself, “Did I put the toilet lid down when I left?”

Don Miller has also written three books which may be purchased or downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON?

WITH CREDIT TO BLAIR (THE SHAMEFUL SHEEP)

Blair’s blog post struck a nerve. No, not really a nerve, it was just worrisome…and I agreed with her blog post. If you like blogs, you should look her up. I don’t think it was her intention but her post made me think about God as I walked and ran early this Sunday morning. I talk to God a lot when I run but usually it is to request something like, “Please God help me get up this hill” or “Oh God, ANOTHER HUNDRED YARDS?” The conversation this morning was not “that kind” of conversation and I continued to carry the heavy, mental conversation I was having with myself and God into church and I don’t really remember what my preacher talked about. Sorry but a least I didn’t fall asleep and it was “sorta” a spiritual conversation.

It was Blair’s opening remarks that got me to thinking, and I quote her, “You know when you’re down on your luck, going through a terrible time, and all you want to do is drown yourself in a vat of melted chocolate? Then, you lean on your loved one for support and they say, ‘don’t worry, everything happens for a reason.’ Really? Am I the only one who gets stabby over this saying? My dog got run over for a reason? How comforting.” Exactly what does “stabby” mean? Oh, slang for angry.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the word stabby or used “Everything happens for a reason,” but it got me to thinking anyway. First I thought about Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 or if you are not familiar with the scripture, the old Byrd’s song “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Not familiar with either? You have enough information to Google it. “Seek and ye shall find” and I would probably YouTube the song. For the Cliff Note people, the verse explains there is a time for everything and by my own logic, a reason for everything that happens. It was after my “logic” that things went a bit contrary.

During my short run and walk my thinking went “right” off the tracks. I should have been happy just to be running again but you see, twenty-five years ago I lost my college ring. I’ll let that sink in. Twenty-five years ago I lost my college ring. “Everything happens for a reason?” What possible plan could God have for my college ring? Why did losing my ring happen for a reason? To teach me a lesson about taking better care of my possessions? I WAS being careful. I was on my way out to do yard work and did not want to ding the ring on something and damage it or worse, hang the ring, still on my finger, ala Cecil Upshaw. Gee whiz I really feel old explaining who Cecil Upshaw was. Cecil was a major league pitcher who, on a bet, jumped up to touch an awning, hung his ring and tore the ligaments in his finger. He was never an effective pitcher again. So I WAS being careful. I might still have a major league career. I reached to put the ring on a shelf and “clumsily” dropped it causing the ring to bounce and disappear down a hole on our old back porch. I looked, and I looked and I looked. Even when we tore down the kitchen and back porch to renovate the old farm house I looked in every nook and cranny and in every brick or cement block that was carried out. No ring. Every time I am under the house I pause and ask God where the ring might be hiding. Silence. I am sure a long dead pack rat took it to her nest to help keep the kiddies captivated.

A lesson on clumsiness? And God said, “YOU MUST BE LESS CLUMSY, I AM GOING TO TEACH YOU A LESSON!” I can hear the thunder rumbling behind his comment now. God, you made me in YOUR image. How many times have you knocked over a glass or tripped over your own shadow? I know, NEVER, but IT IS a valid question. If everything happens for a reason, what was the reason? Other than pissing me off it doesn’t seem to have accomplished anything but EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!

I know many of you wonder if I am flirting with a lightning strike. I don’t think so because my God is the loving God of the New Testament and knows my heart. He knows I AM NOT committing blasphemy. He is also a humorous God. God made me which is really a knee slapper if you think about it. I have conversations like this with God all of the time. On a bad allergy day not long ago, I asked him why he decided to put my nose, upside down over my mouth allowing it to drain into my mustache. Then it started to rain and I knew. Evolution? I think not AND THERE ARE MUCH WORSE PLACES MY NOSE COULD BE!

It’s now late in the evening and I have had this conversation going on all day. God has provided no divine clarification but it could be my liquid libation. WAIT! Maybe he has. 1st. Corinthians 4:5 says, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” Well, I don’t know about the motives in men’s hearts or the praise, but I can tell you the first question I’m going to ask him. Finis.

Blair The Shameful Sheep can be read at https://bhharned.wordpress.com/

Don’t forget to visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

MEMORIALS

Memorial: something, especially a structure, established to remind people of a person or event.

I was approached over a year ago about tonight’s memorial and until a week ago I was able to keep all my memories locked safely away in my secret little lock box in a corner of my brain. Until a week ago…and its Michael Douty’s fault. Looking for a hat, the hat we wore in his memory the year after his death fell out of the armoire and into my hands. Upon seeing the number thirteen on the back there was an immediate flood of memories, most of which made me smile.
In my first attempt at writing badly, “Winning Was Never the Only Thing…,” my aim was to write a collection of humorous stories related to my forty years of teaching and coaching. It was Michael Douty’s fault that my purpose changed with the first story I actually sat down and wrote…his story. Michael’s antics were humorous and my intent was to begin the book with his story.

Unfortunately, his death wasn’t very humorous. No matter how I rewrote the story, it always ended badly, as did the endings to stories involving Tim Wilder, Heath Benedict, Tim Bright and Jeff Gully. While writing Michael’s story I found out Tim Bright was battling Stage IV colon cancer and realized my book was not beginning well. I ended up writing about them all, more about their lives than their deaths and the sweet memories they left for me. Later, after I had published the book, I was forced to write another story with a bad ending when Brian Kuykendall left me. All were former players and Brian gets the double whammy of being a former player and the father of a former player.

Jeff and Tim are joining Michael tonight. Plaques are going to be dedicated and theirs will join Douty’s plaque behind the backstop on the field they played on not so many years ago. I believe in ghosts and wonder if their spirits will visit our old field of dreams…I know they still visit me, especially on dark, moonless nights. For the last week, nightly they have also invaded my dreams.

I have an unshakable belief there is something more than death, that life simply just does not end. During a depressing early morning walk I came to a reality of sorts and found a bit of peace and comfort in a strange, cold and unlikely place…science. I came to this truth while standing in front of a cross. There is a scientific law that states “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Energy can only be changed.” I have taught Conservation of Energy thousands of times, but this cool morning it became more of an anodyne than just a cold scientific law. Call it heaven, Nirvana, a “wheel inside a wheel” or crossing the River Styx, their energy does not die.

I do tend to think of them on dark and clear nights when the stars seem close enough to touch. I described Tim’s light as the “brightest star” in the sky, Jeff as a photon flying in and out of our lives at light speed. Douty? I never described you. You would have to be a comet streaking through the sky, showing his tail in the reflected sunlight. There may be a hidden meaning behind that description and I am sure I just heard you laugh in the gusting wind. Gather them all together

LUNATIC?

I woke up crazy one morning. I’m sure it just wasn’t ONE MORNING. My lunacy was so gradual I didn’t notice it…until I did. Sadness and impending doom permeated my very being. I wanted to stay in bed, keeping the blinds drawn, and wait until the next morning when it would be time to stay in bed again. Saying I was depressed didn’t quite cover it. Saying I was depressed was like referring to the Grand Canyon as a big hole. I hated myself…no I loathed myself and no one knew…no one could know. No one could know because if they found out they would also know I was a lunatic.

Why am I depressed? Late twenties, healthy, married, great job…WHY WAS I DEPRESSED? Why was I crazy? I’m depressed because I hate my marriage…or do I hate my marriage because I am depressed. “A conundrum wrapped in an enigma?” Oh God I have to go to work. I like people but I hate to be around them. “I love my job.” “I HATE MY JOB!” “I VANT to be alone.” I just want to go to sleep…forever. “You have to get up and stand in front of your students and not let on how crazy you are!” “TEACH THEM YOUNGINS!” “But I’m so tired!” Get through today and tomorrow will be better…but it wasn’t. I…just…want…to…break…something.

What am I going to do? “What do I have to be depressed over?” Nothing. “Why?” I grew to hate THAT word like fingernails on a chalkboard. “I DON’T KNOW WHY I JUST AM!” “QUIT ASKING ME!” “I must be ‘bananas,’ ‘bonkers,’ or ‘cracked.’ I tried to make light of it…until one night I found myself having a conversation with myself while staring down the barrel of a gun. A small gun, a revolver and five lead tipped bullets stared back at me. I would not need five, one would end the pain AND THE SORROW. It would be so easy…just pull back the hammer…put the muzzle to your temple and…” WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” I have to get help…but who can help and no one can know I am crazy.

It has been nearly forty years since that night. Obviously I chose help rather than pulling the trigger on that little twenty-two. I went to my doctor and to together we figured out that I was “clinically depressed.” A chemical imbalance that was treated by drugs and therapy. I’m no longer on drugs but I still battle it. Exercise helps as does knowing what it is but I still battle it. “KNOW YOUR ENEMY!” Mental illnesses are diseases just like the common cold, arthritis or cancer. Some are just as incurable and some are genetic. I know my grandmother suffered from it although she would simply say, “She was just blue.” I will never be cured and sometimes that thought “makes me blue.”

There is still a stigma about mental illness. I still cringe when I here myself say, “You are mentally ill.” A hundred years before I would have just gone crazy. How we throw that word around, not thinking about what it may mean to the people we describe. If I had failed to successfully commit suicide, I might have ended up in the asylum with the rest of the “lunatics.” That’s what we did before reform…but I still worry that I am crazy…in a bad way…and that I should be put away.

I woke up depressed this morning. It happens that way. There is no reason, I just feel sorrow for no reason. I want to crawl back into a hole and pull the dirt in behind me. I can’t concentrate. When I walk I can’t find “my happy place” and I feel so tired I am unsure I can put one foot in front of the other. Despite recent injuries, I run. Not fast, not hard, just a minute of physical pain followed by a minute of worrying about physical pain. Repeat…ten times. I am forced to concentrate…on something other than my depression…my lunacy.

It is the afternoon now. I have had a full and productive day despite my affliction. I am better. Why am I better? I don’t know. I just am. If I awaken depressed tomorrow I will again ask that most hated three letter question, “Why?” There is no answer and there is no cure. I know depression will come again, if not tomorrow, next week or next month. I feel it lurking just out of sight. I know my depression is still nearby just as I know I will continue to fight a battle that I can never quite win…maybe that is winning.

If you enjoyed this, Don Miller has also written three books which may be purchased or downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

HIATUS BUT NO VACATION

I MUST go on hiatus. I like that word…hiatus. It means a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process. What it does not mean is A vacation. So, I AM NOT TAKING A VACATION from “Ravings of a Mad Southerner.” I am taking a pause or a gap from it. It is not that I want to pause but this will be my last blog post for a bit. What was that I heard? The gnashing of teeth and hearts breaking? NO! I just moved and my knees made crackling sounds. This is a busy time in my life and I can’t afford my self-imposed schedule of postings. Instead of being able to “Count all the bees in the hive” OR “Chase all the clouds from the sky,” AND my continued telling of stories, I have to take control of my life and actually act like a grown up. No I am not going to grow up but I’m not getting any younger and my “to do” list is not getting any shorter. Fear not, or in spite of your fear, “I’ll be back!” And, I will continue to write…just not post…not on a schedule…JUST WHEN SOMETHING BOTHERS ME SO!

I have no notion that I am a good writer. I think I have gotten better and “No I am not fishing for compliments.” I am a teller of stories who then writes them down, sometimes quite badly. Some memories, I am sure, are only important to me and many times I think “Gee, that sounded a lot better in my head” and I punch delete. I am also AWARE there were times when I should have made the same determination about other stories and didn’t. Sorry!

I find that I am addicted to writing. Like the analgesic I rub on my knees, writing is an anodyne, something to remove distress or pain. To quote Buffett, “He went to Paris looking for answers to questions that bothered him so.” I hate flying so I just went to writing.

I also write because deep down I am a narcissist. In the Afterword of “Winning Was Never the Only Thing…” I wrote, “A former student and friend, who is now an author in her own right, commented to me that she had succumbed to a bit of narcissism by including herself on the cover of one of her books.” I agreed with her because I believe all successful authors…and coaches are a little narcissistic. Being a bit narcissistic is probably not a bad thing… up to a point. We all want to win a championship or write the “great American novel” and we all want to hear and see our names put out there as long as it is positive and not something criminal or stupid. “And here he is Hall of Fame…whatever!” I really just want to sell more books than I give away and see that someone has viewed on my blog. Is that too narcissistic?

The key word in the previous quote is “Successful.” Success may be just being able to write better. I believe PATHWAYS was written better than the previous two books and when I look back on some of the stories I have written I shake my head and ask why did you say it that way? I hope my blog has been written better, again I am not fishing.

I worry I might lose my readership. I have built a bit of a following. Some people will read anything including a cereal box. Not just my former students and friends either but from people I don’t EVEN know. People from all parts of the world…and I hate to say I get nervous when people from SOME countries are reading me. I am such a terrible person. I appreciate when my former students and friends take the time to read my rantings. Actually I probably write for you as much as I write for me. Wow, did I just hear “Thanks for doing me no favors?” Somehow it keeps me connected to people who were and are important to me. I thank you all who are clicking on my WordPress.

So I shall bid you a SHORT and “fond adieu” along with my thanks. I’ll shall return in the fall when the garden is done, the roof has been replaced on the outhouse AND garage, the porch is cleaned, painted and some of the rails replace, the wood for winter has been cut, split and stacked, and when…hell freezes over I’ll be back?

If you just can’t live without me, please click on the following link and buy a book or click on a post that you haven’t read. I need the money and to feed my narcissism. Just remember I am a work in progress.

http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

A LOVE AFFAIR

“As I was motivatin’ over the hill, I saw Maybelline in a Coup de Ville,
Cadillac rollin’ on the open road, nothin’ outrun my V8 Ford”
“Maybelline” by Chuck Berry

It was the summer of my thirteenth year and I was in love. No it wasn’t the little brunette girl in my class with the rapidly expanding chest. It wasn’t my first true love, Sharon. She was still a summer away. I was in love with hot rod cars and the songs about them produced by The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. I could not wait to get behind the wheel of my very own “Little Deuce Coupe” with its very own “409,” race my ’63 split-window Stingray into “Dead Man’s Curve” or maybe a drive to “Drag City” might be safer. During this period, I would not have traded my issue of “Hot Rod” magazine for a subscription to “Playboy.” Okay, who am I kidding? I would have also gone to “Surf City” where there were “two girls for every boy.”

As an eighth grader I would stand all “moony eyed” watching the upperclassmen as they left the school parking lot with their souped-up cars or “No-Go Showboats.” A blue ’53 Chevy looked great dressed in metal flake blue and sporting fake wheel spinners on his rims. Too bad it had the same weak “stove bolt” inline six it was born with. A light blue under white ’59 Ford with a retractable hardtop came next. It was long and low slung, looking even lower with its shiny chrome fender skirts hiding most of the wide, white walled tires it was riding on. I think there might have been fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror and know there was a good looking brunette sitting in the middle of the front seat. Just after the Ford, a red ’58 Impala convertible appeared with a white top and matching interior. The beauty rumbled ominously as it went by, a 348 and glass packs supplying the noise. Finally, the car I was waiting for cruised by. Buck’s ’49 Ford Coupe.

Buck is my cousin and my first “man crush.” Not because he was a stud, even though in my youthful eyes he was. It was his car that cemented his “studly-ness.” Shackled in the rear, its low slung profile made it resemble “fastbacks” of later years. A blue-gray metal flake covered the outside with matching “rolled and pleated” seats on the inside. Finder skirts helped make it look fast even when it was standing still and hid matching rims adorned with shiny “baby moons.” The standard “three on the tree” had been moved to the floor and while the original little flat head was still under the hood, there was little “stock” about it. When you popped the hood twin carburetors winked at you and to quote the Beach Boys, “She’s ported and relieved and she’s stroked and bored.” Custom headers were attached to lake pipes running out from under the doors. Yes, I was madly in love with that car and never forgave him when he sold it to buy an equally “bad” ’55 Chevy. I still felt as if my parents had divorced.

Buck wasn’t my only hero. There was a man from Waxhaw who had a “cult” following among the teens and preteens residing along Highway 521. I never knew what his real name. All I knew was that he was a legend in the same manner as Robert Mitchum in the movie “Thunder Road” including the death part when he tried to cheat death one time too many and ran off a road and hit a tree. Prior to his death, “Waxhaw” drove the Highway Patrol crazy making runs through the little finger of land jutting into North Carolina called the Panhandle of Lancaster County.

You could hear him coming from a distance. Un-muffled exhaust pipes screaming in the distance would bring myself and my local friends, Mickey and DJ, out to watch. You better get there quick because “Waxhaw” was pedal to the metal in a “hopped” up ’63 Baby Blue, Ford Falcon Sprint. Belching flames from straight pipes, the little Falcon would scream past my house in a blue blur. Usually a minute or so later the siren of a Highway Patrol could be heard. Despite having a 390 Police Interceptor V-8, they just couldn’t keep up with the overpowered little Falcon. From the turn off at the Waxhaw Highway on to 521, “Waxhaw” would dare the SC Highway Patrol to catch him before he crossed the North Carolina Stateline and safety. To my knowledge they never did.

American men have always been in love with “hot” cars and the “hot” women attracted to them. In the Fifties and Sixties, a more mobile society gave rise to drive-in movies and restaurants, fifteen cent hamburgers and to a certain extent, the suburbs. With expansive back seats and drive-in movies, I would say they also contributed to a rise in the birth rate. I didn’t get my first “hot” car until 1972, a ‘67 British racing green GTO with red striped tires. I didn’t get to keep it as long as I wanted because of the Oil Embargo of 1973. With gas shortages and rising gas prices, a four barreled carburetor mated to a four hundred cubic inch engine would be replaced by an under powered, even for a four cylinder, “F’ing” Pinto for my wife and a ’53 Chevy four door for me purchased for twenty-five dollars.

I never owned another “muscle” car but I still have time. I still listen to the Beach Boys along with Jan and Dean occasionally…and dream. Maybe I can join “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” and get a “Super Stock Dodge.” Those new Hellcats sure are nice but at my age I probably should stay out of them. For safety I probably won’t go “Sidewalk Surfin’” either.

Don Miller has also written three books which may be purchased or downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM