The car show had only one car from the 1920s this year, but it’s a beauty. This car, which the owner has dubbed the “Strawberry Alarm Clock”, makes the show every year.
The car show had only one car from the 1920s this year, but it’s a beauty. This car, which the owner has dubbed the “Strawberry Alarm Clock”, makes the show every year.
For more cars of the 1940s, see the first classic car post here.
Ah, the 1950s, era of black and white TVs with not much to watch, of drive-ins and sock hops and hamburgers and Levittowns.
But they sure knew how to make cars. Here are some beauties from this year’s car show:
Cinderella’s coach? The owner said the 1956 Nash Ambassador was the official car of Disneyland back in the day.
We did it again–went to the Magnolia Car Show, where Bigfoot took marvelous pictures but kept them hidden away in his camera for weeks while we strolled through Discovery Park and lolled around our back yard, enjoying the all-too-short season of Seattle sun. As the French say, Il faut profiter du soleil quand il y en a, you gotta catch the rays while you can, and nowhere is that more true than here.
Which is a long-winded but true excuse for not publishing these photos sooner, but for the classic car fans who seem to find their way to my blog even though I only wrote one other post on the subject–here they are at last!
I’ll divide the show into several posts so that the photos don’t take too long to load.
The owner of this car spent three years restoring it. It was worth the time to him because it reminds him of the 1955 Fairlaine his mom used to drive.
When he bought it, he found a brochure tucked in the trunk that described the car’s color as “meadow mist green and Colonial white.” He researched the old Ford colors and had the car painted to match them. Notice the slim “meadow mist green” circle inside the tires’ whitewalls. Adding one of the colors of a two-tone car to the tires was common then. Isn’t it an elegant touch? The old cars had so much class.
And here’s one of our favorites: a 1949 Buick Roadmaster just like the one Bigfoot’s own mom used to drive. What a beauty! How come these moms didn’t think ahead and hang onto these treasures for their kids? They had no idea they’d have any value, that elegance and styling would be replaced by aerodynamics and fuel economy. Just like they had no idea that the gorgeously illustrated Donald Duck comic books of the ’30s would become valuable collectors’ items. Yes, Bigfoot’s mom got rid of those too.
Makes you wonder what we casually toss out today that will make the next generation scream. It’s hard to think of anything in this age of disposability and fast-moving technology. Would anyone ever pay money to collect one of those early brick-like cell phones? Ginormous stereo speakers from the ’70s? A boxy old Macintosh computer? I don’t think so.
But those old cars really had something going. It’s like Joni Mitchell said, though, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.
If we had to choose a favorite based on looks alone, with no sentimentality entering into the picture, it would be the 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe below:
Those are the cars that felt the most special to us. But you might have another opinion.
The next posts will feature shots of beautiful old cars from the ’50s, the ’40s, and the ’30s.
Remember how amazed I was when I found a four-leaf clover?
I was so thrilled. They’re rare–just one in 10,000 clovers has that lucky extra leaf.
What does this mean for me, I wondered. Is it a sign?
I cherished my clover, pressed it carefully in a heavy book to preserve it forever, my one and only four-leaf clover.
But a few days later, Bigfoot and I returned to the park and I found another one!
A couple of days after that, I found four, pictured above, and partly below.
One soon after that.
And then, a couple of days later, the jackpot. I found fourteen four-leaf clovers in one day!
Talk about not believing your luck. I called Discovery Park to see if they knew about a clover lode or had heard of other people finding them. Nope. They wanted me to bring one in so their naturalists could study it.
No way! I’m not letting some naturalist paw over one of my precious four-leaf clovers and break it!
As it turned out, I wouldn’t need any help from a naturalist in doing just that.
But at the time, all I could think was These clovers are mine!
Except for the one I gave to my friend Kim’s daughter Marian. I ran into Marian and her family when they were out for a walk and I was on my way home after my motherlode find. Of course Marian was all Mom can we go to Discovery Park and look for four-leaf clovers? Can we go Mom right now pleeeease?!
She didn’t ask if she could have one of mine, and I didn’t offer her one. The thrill is finding it yourself, or so I told myself. But then I got home and looked my handful of clovers and thought, Who are you kidding? Marian would love to have one of these, and here you sit with fourteen, plus all the others you’ve already found. So I walked over to her house and gave her one. I hope it brings her luck in clover hunting, and in everything else.
What to do with all my clovers? Being a methodical cataloguer, I have them pressed in Rodale’s Basic Natural Foods Cookbook with sticky tabs indicating the date and number found.
All was fine until I read online that after a week or two, you’re supposed to take them out and add a few drops of green food coloring to prevent the leaves from turning brown. I tried it on one, unfortunately my nicest specimen (four-leaf clovers tend to be a misshapen lot, with the fourth leaf often shriveled or hidden behind the others), with disastrous results. My dye didn’t come with a dropper, so I shook a drop onto the clover, but it just sat there in a big bubble on the leaf. So I shook some more dye onto the sheet of paper where I had placed the clover and tried to hand-paint it on. I tried to be careful, but the fourth leaf came disconnected.
After that it got to be like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory. I rummaged around the closet until I found some Superglue I could use to try to reattach the leaf to the clover. The Superglue was old, and no matter how hard I squeezed, nothing came out.
Except…What what was that wet stuff getting all over my hands? Oh, no! Superglue, from a crack in the brittle old tube I had just squozen to death.
But at least I had some glue. I picked up the fourth leaf to apply it, but since my hands were so sticky, the leaf stuck to them and when I tried to peel it off…Ruined!
Was my luck ruined along with it?
Rain and work interfered with my clover hunting over the next few days, but yesterday I stopped by the park on my way back from an estate sale to collect some regular three-leaf shamrocks use in future dyeing experiments. And it happened–I found another four-leaf! Rather small, especially the fourth leaf, but beautiful to my eyes.
Bigfoot, on the other hand, found a big one–wouldn’t you know it?–a truly magnificent specimen, his first. It’s catalogued and awaiting processing. Well, maybe processing. But only if I get my technique down with the shamrocks.
Oh, and that estate sale? More about that later, but suffice it to say, I lucked out!
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree
A butterfly flitted across the field
And all the leaves were calling me.
The buttercups nodded their shining heads, greeting the bees who came to call
And I asked a lizard the time of day, as he sunned himself on the moss-grown wall.
The wind went sighing over the land, tossing the grasses to and fro
A rainbow held out its shining hand
So what could I do
But laugh, and go.
We were walking on a woodsy trail in Discovery Park, Bigfoot and I. It was overcast and getting ready to rain, as it usually is in Seattle when it is not actually raining. The massive big-leaf maples and alders surrounding us were leafed out for summer, their wide green canopies hiding a gaggle of chirping birds. All the greenness and fresh oxygen, the big, protective trees, even the rain-is-coming low air pressure gave off a feeling of strength and abundance, of peaceful containment and self-sufficiency.
The forest, setting of fairy tales. I have always loved it.
We took an unaccustomed turn on our way back, and off it, Bigfoot spotted what he said had been a trail.
“Let’s go this way,” he said, and headed off. I followed reluctantly.
In fact, it was sort of a narrow path, but you couldn’t really call it a trail.
“Maybe it was a trail, but it isn’t now,” I grumbled. “You know I hate bushwhacking.”
We walked on and soon found ourselves immersed in a giant field of clover.
“I’ve never seen so much clover in one place,” Bigfoot said.
Stretching out for several yards all around us were clover plants of every size and variety, large and small, some deep green, some a lighter green, and others with white inner markings. We were literally “in clover,” and now I could see how the expression came about. Out of the woods, you stumble upon a clearing filled with rich, green shamrocks. Life is easy, after all.
I bent down to examine the different types, and as I always do in a clover patch, searched for the elusive lucky one. I did see something that looked like it might have four leaves, so I reached down to part it from the thicket of surrounding plants. Usually the magical apparent four-leaf clover disappears when you do this, its fourth leaf turning out to belong to a neighbor.
But this time–I couldn’t believe it—the fourth leaf didn’t go away. I reached down farther and plucked its stem.
It was! A real four-leaf clover!
“Look!” I cried, holding up my prize to Bigfoot. “I hope it brings me luck! Do you think it means anything?”
“Think about what you were doing when you found it,” Bigfoot said.
I was walking. So what?
“You weren’t just walking, you were forging your own path. Think about what we were talking about.”
We had been talking about an email I had just sent to someone complaining about an attractive job I interviewed for, but am unlikely to get. And the recipient of my long-winded, self-pitying email had replied with the same words that Bigfoot has repeated to me many times: It doesn’t matter. You’re better off on your own. Don’t get a job, keep freelancing. You have valuable skills. You can do it!
But I’m not so sure. The security of a job appeals to me the same way a clearly-marked trail does. It’s no guaranty that something won’t go wrong. But it beats bushwhacking.
“I wasn’t forging my own path, I was forced onto it,” I say in answer to Bigfoot. Which is the case with freelancing too. Without a job, I am forced to try it. Though without Bigfoot’s encouragement, I probably would have left this bushwhacking path for a job–any job–by now. I’d probably be working at Starbucks. Instead, I’m giving this dark path full of unknown perils a chance.
Still, I hope the four-leaf clover brings me a job. At least, I think I do.
But instead, it strangely seems to be pointing me toward a freelance career.
The logo I chose recently for my new freelance business website is a shamrock. Shamrock is simply the Irish word for a regular three-leaf clover.
In designing the website’s logo, I looked at symbols, I looked at initials, I looked at abstract designs, and nothing appealed. I couldn’t even think of an image I wanted, until the shamrock popped into my head. It just seemed right, somehow. I thought about using a four-leaf clover instead, but it seemed like cheating. It seemed to imply I was lucky, or worse, that I thought I was special.
I downloaded some stylized shamrock images, but they didn’t look right. So I plucked a real clover, which I also found in Discovery Park, brought it home, and had Bigfoot take a picture of it and design a logo. AND HERE IT IS.
But now I’ve found a four-leaf clover.
My clover is being pressed in the fold of a tissue inside a heavy cookbook with an even heavier atlas on top of it. After it’s fully dried, I’ll probably put it in some sort of enclosure and keep it on my desk.
As for my website, I’m not sure if I should replace the shamrock with the new four-leaf or not. The idea seems less pretentious now that it’s real.
Maybe it would bring me luck.
Maybe I should stop thinking about luck and get busy writing.
What do you think? I’m open to suggestions.
That’s the way of the freelancer.
Domesticus: Mr. Bernanke, first of all, we recognize that you’ve got one tough job. Last year, we even wrote you a sincere note to tell you so, and offered our sympathies. To which one of your staff people actually responded with a thank-you note. We understand that trying to manage the economy–well, not manage it, but, you know, trying to keep the weather not too hot and not too cold while somebody’s always screaming about heatstroke and somebody else is dying of frostbite, is really an impossible task to get right. In fact, some people would say that since it’s such it’s an impossible task, your job shouldn’t even exist. We don’t know about that, but we know we wouldn’t want to do it.
So we have a lot of sympathy for you, trying as you are to do the impossible. But we also have some questions. Because frankly, we’re concerned about the deficit, the big gap between what the government owes people–especially older people who, even if they can’t retire are liable to get sick some day–and what the government can afford to pay them. Can you summarize for us what the Fed is doing about this problem?
Bernanke: Sure. First we had QE1, where we bought up all those bad mortgages that never should have been made in the first place.
Domesticus: When you say we—
Bernanke: I mean us taxpayers. You, me, your Aunt Hilda, your neighbor down the street who paid $500k for that piece of swampland, we’re all in this together. So we bought up the bad mortgages that were weighing down poor Fannie and Freddie and also gave them $100 billion in pocket change so they could put dinner on the table. And then we cut interest rates to zero so that we would all feel cozy and start spending again.
Domesticus: And what was the result?
Bernanke: Mortgage rates went way-way-way down.
Domesticus: And people and businesses started spending again?
Bernanke: No, they were too scared.
Domesticus: So then what did you do?
Bernanke: QE2. We bought long-term Treasury bonds. Lots of them, $600 billion worth.
Domesticus: And what did that do?
Bernanke: Created a stock market boom. Saved us from depression! Created jobs.
Domesticus: How many jobs were created?
Bernanke: Some 700,000.
Domesticus: Let’s see…$600 billion spent, 700,000 jobs…that means we spent $850,000 to create each job. And unemployment was still over 9 percent.
Bernanke: But mortgage rates went way-way-way down.
Domesticus: Tell me what you did next.
Bernanke: Operation Twist! We sold short-term Treasury bonds and used the money to buy long-term Treasury bonds.
Domesticus: What for?
Bernanke: To get interest rates down so people and businesses would feel comfortable spending again.
Domesticus: Did it work?
Bernanke: There was a big meltdown in Europe and people here were afraid of catching it, so they didn’t go out and spend money and create jobs like they were supposed to do. But mortgage rates did go way-way-way—
Domesticus: Mr. Bernanke, you’re scaring me. You’re making it sound like the Fed only knows how to do one thing, and we have these giant, mounting debts that we can never repay staring us in the face. What if someone is falling asleep at their desk and needs to retire? What if someone gets sick? What if someone gets mad and throws a brick through the window at Citibank? What are we going to do, Mr. Bernanke?!
Bernanke: Chill, baby! There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Here, I’ll show you. [Pushes up from his chair and strides across the room to a black box sitting in the corner. Opens it and sorts through it.] Ah, here it is! [Pulls out a cd and pops it into his computer.]
Bernanke [singing along and dancing]:
Come on, let’s twist again
Like we did last summer
Yeah, let’s twist again
Like we did last year!
Do you remember when
Things were really hummin’?
Yeah, let’s twist again
Twistin’ time is here!
Turn your speakers WAAAY up…and immerse yourself in ancient Egypt with Bigfoot’s totally cool slideshow, above.
So what did we do when the Texas Teresa Meek and her husband Chester came to town?
We went to see King Tut, of course.
It was a beautiful clear, sunny summer day in Seattle, a place where sunny days are rare even at this time of year, a prime day for ascending the Space Needle, strolling the outdoor market at Pike Place, or visiting our green and blooming parks. Instead, we spent it inside the dark exhibition halls of the Pacific Science Center, looking at the contents of tombs. Plus an unwrapped mummy at the end of the show.
Who would want to spend a precious Northwestern sunny day doing such a thing?
Meeks would. All of us, plus my friend Janet.
Bigfoot and I had already arranged to go, at my insistence, and I had invited Janet, who takes an interest in all things cultural. There was no way I was going to miss this one-of-a-kind show a second time in my life, and Seattle was its last stop.
The first time I missed it I was living in the other Washington–D.C. This is some 30 years ago. The exhibit of treasures–a solid gold funeral mask was one of the highlights–from the tomb of Tutankhamun, the “boy king” who died at 19, was such a hit that people stood in lines eight blocks long in some places just to see it. It inspired Steve Martin’s hilarious Saturday Night Live parody featuring King Tut and the Toot Uncommons.
I loved Steve Martin. I loved things Egyptian. I wanted to go. But I didn’t want to stand in an eight-block-long line, and I didn’t want be one of the sardines packed into the museum once I got in.
Being young and stupid, I decided I’d play it smart. Waited for the crowds to go down. Waited, waited, and waited. The crowds continued to pack the National Gallery. When the entire population of the city and its surrounding suburbs in Virginia and Maryland had attended, visitors were still pouring in from out of town. I waited some more. And I missed the exhibit. Damn!
I wasn’t about to let that happen again. So when the exhibit returned to the United States this year for a second and final tour, with Seattle as its very last stop before the treasures were returned to Egypt for good, I snapped up tickets. They happened to be for the day when the Texas Meeks were scheduled to arrive, but I figured we could meet them afterwards, or possibly the next day. Still, when Teresa called to announce their arrival, I invited them along. Why not?
And being Meeks, they thought it was a terrific idea.
We Meeks think alike, it turns out. Appreciate the simple things in life. Enjoy being outdoors. Have respect for tradition. Take an interest in history. Of course they wanted to go.
We arrived too late for the entrance time we were shooting for (They stagger the entry times now so you’re less likely to feel like a sardine, though it was still surprisingly crowded for a Tuesday afternoon), so we hung out for a couple of hours at Starbucks to shoot the breeze and get to know one another a little better. Turned out we got along great.
But that’s not all.
There’s something about Chester. Something that reminds me of Bigfoot.
On the surface, they couldn’t be more different. Chester, born and bred in Texas with roots in Oklahoma. Bigfoot, born and bred in Washington with roots in Michigan and Oklahoma, but not on the Meek side. Chester, a hunter. Bigfoot, a former vegetarian.
But they both have a wry, sarcastic mouth. Coming out of guys who seem polite and shy, coming out of nowhere.
They both have a big heart. Bigfoot is always helping people.
Chester once picked up a down-and-out hitchhiker, gave him money for meal, and dropped him off at a place where he could get shelter.
It turned out to be Willie Nelson. True story! But the point is, he could have been an axe murderer, but Chester saw he needed help and helped. The kind of thing Bigfoot would do.
Could it be? Could they be related?
Here they are, side by side. What do you think?
Still not convinved? Let’s take a closer look:
The same pale but rosy complexion, the same eyes that curve down in the corners, the same kind of teeth, the same kind of smile.
We’re calling ’em cousins.
The Texas Meeks are strangers no more. They’re kin to us, or near enough.
Family in Texas. Who’d a thunk?
Now when I think of King Tut, it is no longer Steve Martin’s ditty that pops into my head, but Bigfoot’s images and music, and the Meeks. All of us.
It’s a definite improvement.