Click on any photo to enlarge all.
Click on any photo to enlarge all.
The car on the left was the one I requested. The car on the right was the one I got!!!!
When I was still trying to make it up to the Cabot trail in Nova Scotia in the black beast pictured above, I stopped at a big red barn restaurant—the only place close to the motel where I stayed for the night. The meal was not memorable and was accompanied by the agony of a girl child in the next booth who SCREAMED in a high shrill voice for at least half of the time to the accompaniment of a mother who occasionally ineffectively tried to shush her. It occurred to me that I could move, but at that point she started running up and down the length of the restaurant, piping “Ring around the rosy” in her irritatingly shrill and LOUD voice. Since I hesitated to turn to fix her with my own shaming glare, I never laid eyes on her until they finally left half way through my meal. By her behavior, I had thought she must be three or so, but was amazed to see when they finally left that she was more like five or six.
It was an incredible relief until another man came in with what looked like the same child. They blessedly sat a few booths beyond me as she seemed to possess the same voice and irritating behavior. At least, however, she stayed in her own booth—a bit further from my unappreciative ear than the last child. The meal was forgettable. The experience wasn’t. But, when I left, I at least snapped this photo which illustrates well the difference between the car I wanted and the gas-guzzling technologically puzzling beast that Hertz actually issued me. We parted company last night. Such a relief to hand it back to its rightful owners.
Okay, as promised, here I am following the rules.
For even better photos of cars, trucks and motorcycles, be sure to look here: https://ceenphotography.com/2016/06/16/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-cars-trucks-or-motorcycles/
All photos copyright by Jim Arnieri and for review purposes only. Please do not download or reproduce without his permission.
These photos aren’t black and white and they aren’t mine, but my brother-in-law Jim Arnieri is the most incredible photographer of automobiles that I have ever seen, so this seems like the perfect time to share his work. He specializes in details, so you will usually not even realize it is cars that you are looking at. Scroll through the page at this link: http://www.artltd-hja.com/photos.html but then do not miss going here as well: http://www.artltd-hja.com/decor.html to see his art in the setting of their home. Hope you enjoy this trip through a wheeled world much more spectacular than any I could concoct while I go to try to find some black and whites of my own that will probably be less art, more story..
Devil # 3
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.” Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?
Okay, I was going to give this prompt a “miss” and went to the new prompt generator I’ve been using for the past few days. I hit the button and was served up the two-word prompt: “Ill Devil”. At first I read this as #3 Devil, and I must admit, I got a chill, because what I immediately thought about when I read the prompt was the third time I was in a near-death situation where I felt totally helpless. What are the chances, I thought, that these two prompts would line up? This must be something I’m meant to write about. But then reason stepped in and I realized this prompt always gave an adjective and a noun. What they probably meant by the prompt was ill Devil. (Changing the capital to a small “i” clarified the prompt.) But then I realized that ill devil described the occurrence I am trying not to talk about as much as #3 devil did, so I guess, prodded on twice by fate or coincidence or synchronicity, I will try.
I have written to a similar prompt twice in 2015, so probably most of you who read my blog have chanced upon one of those posts, but when I wrote to a similar prompt in June of 2014, I wrote a different piece and since I had few of my present-day readers then, I’ll mention that THIS is what I wrote. It may not be obvious that the topic given in today’s prompt was what I was really talking about then, however, because it was a poem where I actually stood to one side of what I was really remembering and wrote about the subject as an onlooker rather than a participant. I only alluded to the real subject, which is what I’m going to attempt to write about today. That real subject is Ted Bundy and how otherwise respectable women sometimes fall prey to such predators. Okay, deep breath. I’m going to tell to the world something I have actually told to very few people. Yes, this is a true story.
Devil # 3
Nineteen seventy-something. In the bar with friends.
When you are in your twenties, the partying never ends.
It was rodeo season and the big one was in town.
As one by one they ordered drinks, I couldn’t turn them down.
We were a rather rowdy bunch of teachers in our prime
Devoted in the classroom, but wild on our own time.
The bar was crowded hip to hip, the music barely heard
over the loud cacophony of laugh and shouted word.
It was my turn to buy a round. I struggled towards the bar.
My polite “Excuse me’s!” really hadn’t gotten me too far
when a guy appeared in front of me and moved the crowd aside
as though he had appointed himself to be my guide.
As I returned with eight full drinks, again he stemmed the tide
by walking close in front of me and spreading elbows wide.
He smiled and then departed, back to the teeming mass.
Impressive that he had not even tried to make a pass!
My friends all wondered who he was. I said I had no clue.
Tall and dark and ivy-league, he vanished from our view.
This story happened long ago. Some details I’ve forgotten,
and any memories he retains, you’ll learn were ill-begotten.
I think we danced a dance or two. I know we talked awhile.
I liked his fine intelligence, his low-key polite style.
At three o’clock the barman’s bell commenced it’s clanging chime
and I made off to find my friends, for it was closing time.
Two lines of men had split the bar, lined up back to back.
Their hands locked and their arms spread wide–they moved into the pack.
One line moved east, the other west, forcing one and all
Either out the front door or towards the back door hall.
I was forced out the back way–out into the alley.
My friends and I had made no plans of where we were to rally
and so I walked around the block, sure that was where they waited,
but there was no one there at all–the crowd had soon abated.
I went back to the alleyway to see if they were there.
but all was dark and still, and soon I began to fear
that both carloads of friends had thought I was with the other.
I had no recourse but to walk, though I prayed for another.
I combed my mind to try to think of anyone at all
living in this part of town where I could go to call
a friend to come and get me and furnish me a ride
for 3 a.m. was not a time to be alone outside.
There were no outside phone booths and I lived so far away
I simply had to rouse someone, but what was I to say?
But since I had no other choice I thought I’d check once more
if any single soul was waiting at the bar’s front door.
And as I left the alley to be off to see,
I saw a new familiar face looking back at me.
It was my dancing partner, his face split in a grin.
It seems that he was going to save me once again.
He had asked me earlier if needed a ride,
but I had told him wisely that I had friends inside
and so I thought he’d left, but I could see he was still there.
Yet, ride home with a stranger? Did I really dare?
And yet I had no other choice, abandoned as I was.
And so I said I guess that yes, I would, simply because
I knew there was just one of him and I was young and strong.
And he seemed kind, polite and gentle. What could go so wrong?
His car was just a block away. Our walk was short and brief.
And when he pointed out his car, I felt a great relief.
For it was a convertible–and easy to escape
If I detected the first signs of robbery or rape!
He opened up the door for me. I got in the front seat.
But as he started up the car, my heart skipped a beat.
For from the bushes, two more men emerged and jumped inside–
one man in the backseat, the other at my side!
He pulled out into the street, though I protested so.
I didn’t really want a ride, so please, just let me go!
(And here I have to beg off and say I’ll finish this story tomorrow. Right now my heart is pumping and my head throbbing as though I’m re-enacting this whole tale physically as well as mentally. I’m totally exhausted. Why I decided to write this in rhyme I don’t know. Perhaps I thought it would be easier, or more fun or more lighthearted, but there is simply no way to write this from any other frame of mind but the terror I felt that night. So, sorry, but I will resume tomorrow. You all know that I’m here telling the story, so be assured that the worst didn’t happen…but the story is by no means over, so join me tomorrow for the rest. I, for one, could really use a drink, but it is only 1:40 in the afternoon so I’ll find some other means of escape.)
To see the conclusion of this poem, go HERE.
If you’d like to try out Jennifer’s new prompt generator, go HERE.
A week ago, I drove to the Santa Cruz, CA area to visit old friends. It has been fourteen years since I left there to move to Mexico, and when I spent the night with my friends Linda and Steve, they invited my other good friends Dan (pictured above) and Laurie to come for dinner. When we fell to comparing our present physical ills, as old farts like us are prone to do, I admitted that over the past year I have experienced a number of anxiety attacks when I go to bed, mainly centered around fears that I will soon stop being able to breathe. When I told Dan about these attacks, he said that he, too, had been having them for a long time but that he’d found a cure–that cure being Bob’s rope. The story goes like this.
About twenty years before, Dan and Laurie had decided to drive down to Baja and asked my husband Bob and me to accompany them. We took two cars because they had to come back before us as Laurie didn’t want to leave her elderly aunt for too long. Dan said he had felt terrible anxiety before the trip. What if their car broke down? With no big towns in Baja, what would they do? Nonetheless, we went, and on our second day of driving, we fell behind them a mile or two. We were nearing the crest of a big hill when we suddenly saw a big engine part lying in the road. We swerved around it and as we passed over the summit, we spied Dan and Laurie’s car down below at the bottom of the hill. We thought they were waiting for us to catch up, but then saw Dan get out of the car and wave us down.
Part of the engine had fallen out of their van! We went back to pick it up and discovered that it was the universal joint or some part of the engine that contained the universal joint, which is a vital part of the engine, or so I was told. Dan was sputtering a bit, but Bob just went to the back of our Blazer and pulled out this colossal hemp rope…maybe twenty feet long and about two or three inches thick. This he tied to our trailer hitch and to the chassis of Dan and Laurie’s van. We then towed them about 20 miles until we found a tiny “town” consisting of a small gas station. We pulled in and Dan, who knew more Spanish than we did at the time, (we knew none) asked the station man where the next garage might be. There were a sum total of three little houses in the town that we could see, and the man pointed to one across the road and said we should go see Jose.
Jose had about 5 old cars parked in his yard and when he inspected the part we’d retrieved from the center of the road, he said he’d see what he could do. He scrounged around in the various cars and came up with a part which he promptly dropped in the dirt, at which point all the bearings dropped out onto the ground, rolling every which way and burying themselves under powdery dirt and sparse grass clumps. He laboriously scavenged, picking bearings out and cleaning them off on his shirt before dropping them into wherever bearings go. He worked for a half hour or so–maybe longer.
This part of the story I didn’t witness as Laurie and I were across the street in the shade of the service station eating the best tamales I’ve ever had in my life. We’d purchased them from a little woman who had a stand by the side of the road. They were incredible in that every single bite tasted different from every other bite. She had put everything into them: pork, pineapple, cheese, mild chilis. Each bite was a totally new tamale experience and the masa was moist and light and wonderful. I was thinking that it was worth Dan’s U-joint just to get to eat these tamales! We thought we should buy some for Dan and Bob, but as time wore on, we ended up eating theirs as well. Only so much can be expected of girls marooned in the heat with only the shade of a forlorn little gas station for comfort.
At any rate, I’m sure we bought more tamales for the male members of our expedition and eventually, they drove up in Dan’s van. As they (probably) ate their tamales, Dan spoke in wonder of the fact that Jose had somehow been able to gerrymander the part from the pieces of the different cars–none of which were vans or even the make of his van. And, when he asked how much he owed them, they said, “Oh, 150 pesos!!!” This at the time was about $15. He said he would have paid more but alas, that happened to be all the cash he had on him and I’d spent all our money on tamales and gas.
So it was that we went on to a few more days’ adventures before they headed north again and we continued to Mulege and points south, took the ferry over to Guaymas on the mainland of Mexico and drove up the coast and back home. Later, Dan reported to us that he’d stopped by to see Jose on the way back up to California and left him with a couple of cases of beer and a bit more money, which he felt he had certainly earned, even though he had not commanded a higher price.
A happy Dan drove his van home and for 6 months it performed perfectly; but he started worrying about it and thinking it was bound to eventually give him problems, so he went to the authorized garage of whatever make his van was and had them order the correct U-joint and install it. Afterwards, he had had nothing but trouble with the van and they ended up trading it in. He admitted then that he never should have meddled with the perfection of Jose’s repair job.
Now, he said, every time he felt anxiety, he thought of Bob’s rope and it would calm his fears and remind him that things worked out because they had to and that there was really nothing to be so anxious about that it kept him from doing what he wanted to do. When Bob died and I moved to Mexico, I asked them what they would like to have from our house to remember us by and Dan quickly requested the rope! He’s had it ever since. They now split their time between their house in Boulder Creek, CA and a house near the southern tip of Baja and every trip they’ve taken down, they have carried that rope in the trunk of their car. Dan still suffers night anxiety attacks as I do but he said when he does he thinks of Bob’s rope coiled in the trunk of his car and that calms him.
That is the story of Bob’s rope–how it came to have such importance in Dan’s life and how it has come to have a potential for comfort in my life as well.
Laurie seems to have life whipped.
The Prompt: Tell us about a journey you have taken, either physically or emotionally.