Daisy, part I

Timeline: First day of spring 1994, South Bend, IN

Welcome the 180 chassis to its new home  ⬇

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Rewinding the clock to 1969, a Methodist minister in Fargo, ND, the Rev. Mueller, trades in his trusted 1958 Mercedes 220S sedan for a new Cadillac DeVille, thus verifying that belief in Christ may reap material benefits.

In nearby rural Northcote, MN, John Dunn, bend-in-the-road Texaco station owner, buys the Benz; $ 600 for the car + an extra $50 for the 4 piece fitted luggage in the trunk.

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Fast forward 25 years of everyday driving, Mr. Dunn passes away, the sedan is offered by the estate, and I’m driving it, cautiously, 300 miles home. In remarkably original condition, it has the standard color scheme; black exterior, lush red leather interior, and enough wood inside to fund a South American lumberyard.

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The car had one unusual and expensive option (~ 175 US$ in 1958 now = $1476 today ), a transmission in transition, operating without a clutch pedal, the segue of manual to automatic. M-Benz named it Hydrak ©, which found few supporters (burned out clutches) and became a handicap at the time of sale.  The operation, although flawless, proved too tricky for the average driver, took practice getting used to, a rare misstep in German engineering.

However, I loved it, as no one ever asked if they could take the wheel.

The car became our tribute to the similar 1955 Buick, Morgan Freeman transporting Jessica Tandy in the classic film, “Driving Miss Daisy”. Daisy became my daily driver for several summers, work, play, and the occasional wedding.

photo ⬇ courtesy, Barrett-Jackson LLC, all rights reserved 1998

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Wife, Lynn, practicing her Princess Di wave for the adoring masses, July 4th, 2004, parade, DeTour Village, MI. Note, steering wheel mounted, illegal necking knob off our tractor.

My bridge partner, a very close friend, once asked me to go to the local mausoleum, for a photographic favor.  A family dispute involving a distant, disenfranchised stepson living in Manhattan, who received no inheritance from his wealthy stepmother, felt her death was a hoax. He demanded evidence of the burial vault. A favorite photo resulted :

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Alas, Daisy became the victim of being # 9 in an eight car barn. The old ponton roundbody was sold on eBay to a shopping center magnate in Hong Kong. The Los Angeles agent for the new owner revealed that the Chinese government prohibits ‘vintage’ cars on the road, hence, Daisy was condemned to a suspended turntable in a mall atrium, an obscene display of Western imperialism, never to be driven.  Little different than a stationary pole dancer in an adult night club.

A political shame, until, perhaps, the next insurrection in Beijing….?…

Stay tuned,

“but I don’t want to go to Hong Kong”  ⬇DSCN9480.JPG

 

©insightout2017

Oh, little town of ………….

A requisite tour of the America on Wheels museum in Bethlehem, PA. featured a lunch prepared by nearby Catasauqua, PA “Cathy’s Creative Catering Café’, a business suffering from an overdose of “C”s. Delicious food, however, maybe a vowel from Pat and Vanna is in Cathy’s future.

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graphite and ivory 190Sls (1955-1963) in the shadow of the Bethlehem Steel blast furnace (1857-2003) on a 95℉ day

The planned afternoon activity, covered bridges, Rodale organic farm and picnic in Kutztown, PA., exceeded my tolerance. A hot 55 y/o roadster, sweltering heat, humidity, and intense traffic delays melted my enthusiasm, so under the heading, full disclosure; I bolted.

IMG_6116  So cute, even those little piggies

IMG_4132  kiss me, I’m organic

This little piggy may go to market, but my little piggy is going whee, whee, all the way to home to Easton, PA.

Yes, I broke rank. Sorry, the criminal equivalent of automotive treason, punishable by two years on a home-detention ankle monitor, and one conjugal garage visit per month.  Harsh, yes, but the benefits of compost and recycled manure are far less interesting than an unscheduled visit to (hold onto your silly putty ®)………

The Crayola ® Experience; from their brochure, a one-of-a-kind attraction where color, chemistry, and technology magically combine to create a colorful adventure for a child’ s imagination.

The Binney & Smith museum, located in downtown Easton, PA was on my bucket list; the bonus, it was blissfully air-conditioned. Teeming with 4 to 8 y/o future graffiti artists, many of whom had skipped today’s Ritalin dose, I dove right in as if still in Miss Markwalder’s first grade class, Gary, IN, the Wallace School, 1946.

Much like the Hershey Museum, or Kellogg’s watching Fruit Loop production, the Spam Museum in Austin, MN; all destinations that parallel the 190SL fantasy, deceiving oneself as being forever young. Where else will you see the world’s largest Crayon ?

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Next stop, Hackettstown, NJ, home to the Mars production facility.  No longer open to public tours, I’m playing the Charles Kuralt card in an attempt to finagle a writer’s pass to….drum roll…..the m&m plant.

M&M_spokescandiesonly 4.7 calories each.

 

Wish me luck.

..❡…repeat the sounding joy…∲

From our holiday letter, Christmas past, little has changed.

Ah yes, zero visibility, howling wind, and an arctic clipper courtesy of  the TWC storm d’jour.  I’m reminded of the iconic Burl Ives compelling us to have a ”holly, jolly Christmas” as my 5 HP snow thrower rumbles past the large holly bush.

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Yesterday, 17Dec2013, the bush, the granary, 8″ snow

For those who might enjoy a sprig of branches and berries, they are available, free, under the popular “u-pick” format, no limit. Note our GPS reading, Lat. 41.7222, Long. 86.3497, Elev. 725′. Although no biblical documentation exists, the three wise men, too, must have had a Garmin or how else could they have traveled the great distance from the east and managed to locate the baby Jesus?

My holiday speculation; the star of Bethlehem was the first TV satellite.

Fast forward three years.

Lynn remains stable, yet fragile, as we prepare to celebrate by sharing our new holiday tree, made of re-bar.  Yes, the identical reinforced steel rods used to stabilize concrete bridges. Enough, please, enough of this sentimental, tear producing tangent, before we all lose it.

3′ high, created by Karen Ruihley, the artiste sister of our brother-in-law, relatively speaking.  Imagine what a Lincoln arc welder and an acetylene torch can do in the hands of a genius.  Alert; maintain a safe distance when she’s armed with a chain saw.

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             Christmas portrait, 2013

                             Top:  Lynn

     Bottom: L-R, the Re-Bar tree, the Jack, the Chas

 

The Grinch, in my estimation, was sappier than a Hallmark card, a real softie. Sure, I may have the personality of a walk-in refrigerator, promising no one a gift exchange, other than donations to the grandchildren’s education.  The economy, should it depend on my ilk ( be assured, others cringe at Christmas), would croak louder than an opera bullfrog.

The fat lady would be unemployed.

On food stamps.

Please, insist on observing the constitutional separation of church and retail. That applies to Santa, who, receiving residual annuities from every major advertiser, needs to start paying taxes.  And go on a diet for the grossly obese to reduce his blood pressure and A1C levels, while a bunch of underpaid, non-union, dwarfs do all the work. Scoundrel.

The guy is 3 to 4 hundred years old, can’t afford a Gillette razor, eats chocolate, and never gets older.  He’s making a list and checking it twice?  Huh?  After centuries of practice, he can’t get it right the first time….add senility to his medical profile.  Time to do a transportation upgrade too.  Pan fry that wretched herd of hat racks, including the alcoholic leader with the inflamed red nose.

You may have discerned that I am imbued (whatever that word means) with the holiday spirit, no bahs, no humbugs, while cozily enveloped in the warmth of burning embers from the fireplace, so please join along as I croon that old Bing Crosby holiday favorite;

“I’m dreaming of a white tire iron…..”

 

©insightout2013