I’m a Half Breed (shhh!)

 

I have a deep, dark secret that I need to share with my readers. (Whispers behind hand) I’m a half-breed!! Yes, I am of mixed blood, not that that makes me either a better or a worse person than any of you. I’ve posted pictures of myself on previous entries, and even though my pictures are of someone who is tall and blond (Ole says I’m platinum, makes me more valuable, ya know) with blue eyes, the truth be known – I’m a half-breed. And it HAS affected me greatly throughout my childhood and on into my adult life. My mother was Swedish and my father was Norwegian – a mixture that, back in their day, wasn’t supposed to mix well, so you can imagine what it’s done to my psyche.

I’ve made reference previously to my ScandiHOOvian-Lutheran upbringing, and if any of you are familiar with the old-time ScandiHOOvians, you know how stoic they are. Showing any kind of emotion is against the rules, regardless of what the issue. A good example would be the day that Ole and I announced that there would be a baby Ole or Lena in about nine months. My father was sitting at the kitchen table with a grin from ear to ear, but the first words out of his mouth were to Ole, “Well, when shall we go fishing, then? There’s a big one waiting to be caught.” That’s when I knew he was excited about having another grandchild.

Another unspoken rule was never to brag about yourself or any of your accomplishments. That would draw attention and that was certainly something that you didn’t want. Fading into the background was a much more positive attribute. ScandiHOOvians believed there was only one right way to live – their way. From their vantage point problems were either black or white and all solutions were cut and dried. There were no such words as “feeling blue” or “down” in their vocabulary – but the words “buck up”, “pull up your boot straps,” etc., were heard frequently.

Speaking of black and white, color was another thing that was almost non-existant. Show me a ScandiHoovian woman who wears bright dresses and red fingernail polish and she sure must have some Italian or Spanish in her blood somewhere. ScandiHOOvian women bought red nail polish for one reason – they used it to mark the bottoms of their dishes and pans that they brought to funerals and other doings. It held up better than masking tape. To this day IF I put polish on my fingernails, it’s always a pale color, most usually clear or natural. And I so well remember my mother and Big Sister, marking their bowls and pans with red nail polish.

The ScandiHOOvian preference for white can be seen in their food choices also. Among the favorites are lutefisk, lefse, fish balls, potatoes, onions, cabbage, flatbread, buttermilk, fattigmand, glorified rice, rommegrot, a krumkaka here and there. And as far as spices go, salt was a staple and pepper was getting quite daring. Foods from other ethnicities were adapted and toned down. If you wanted to add color and flare, you just added a can of peas. Homemade vegetable soup was brightened with carrots, but topped with dumplings. Marshmallows were put over squash and corn not only creamed but covered with crackers. How about chocolate cake covered with white boiled frosting, and the staple of all ScandiHOOvian gatherings, red jello toned down with a white banana floating on top.

Beige isn’t white, but it was the closest thing to colorless that a ScandiHOOvian woman could find. Historically, the lady of the house never went in for show. She would put on a beige dress, paint her nails with clear polish, splash on a dab (not too much now) of Evening in Paris and that would be about as much flash as you could expect to see. She would anxiously anticipate Memorial Day so she could once again bring out her white shoes.

Additionally, religion somehow got mixed up with trying to keep things pure and white. None of the Big Shots in the church knew that the uproar caused by the introduction of the NEW RED hymnals had nothing to do with the music or liturgy at all. Who would imagine that the Lutheran Church would ever have agreed to have RED hymnals in the back of the pew racks?

So now you know all about the inner conflict that I deal with on a day to day basis and why it’s there. And then adding Ole to the recipe, who is a Finlander, makes life more interesting – but that’s okay. I’ll just keep it all to myself. It’s just not that bad. I’ll just buck up and pull up my boot straps.

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Riding the waves and getting sea sick

Rolling along on this section of I-94 heading east is like riding a wild bronco – lots of bucking.  You better be seat belted in or you’re going to go flying.  Between the frost heaves that remain after the severe winters, and the sun boils that make the highway about as smooth as an ocean with huge waves, it can be a pretty wild ride.  Poor little Lucy has taken up residence in her cat bed that has a roof over it, so she’s pretty secure.  Nala, on the other hand, has to suffer with the up and down motion and has a terrible time to find a place where she feels secure.  She remains calm throughout and travels well.  Actually better than I did yesterday.

Montana is one freaking big state – it goes on forever and ever and ever.  They call it Big Sky Country, and yes, it’s beautiful, but when all you want to do is go home, you can only handle so much big blue sky.  Especially at 95 degrees when the in-dash a/c doesn’t work.  By the time we reached Billings last night I was literally FRIED in more ways than one.  Then to top it off, we took a wrong turn off the exit ramp, got all turned around and ended up in the industrial park instead of where we wanted to go.  I was trying hard to figure things out on the GPS and Nala was insisting on standing between me and the dash, where all my power cords and computer cables are, pulling everything down off the dash so I lost all my connections.  Meanwhile, Ole was yelling at me to tell him where to turn – I just about told him where to turn all right – and it wasn’t in Billings!!

We finally reached our Walmart campground and all sighed a deep sigh of relief, even Nala and Lucy.  No more than had we pulled in lengthwise along one of the outside edges of the parking lot, allowing enough space to drive out in the morning, than some dumb sh-t pulled in right in front of us – so close to our front end you had to hold your breath in order to walk between the vehicles.  That meant that if someone pulled in behind us there would be no way to jockey our way out in the a.m., and we wanted to be on the road at sun-up. 

“Well,” said Ole, with a huff, “We’ll fix him good,” as he poked the button to start the generator so we could run our roof a/c and cool everybody down.  By this time I was in tears, from frustration and being overheated for so terribly long, and being very tired due to lack of sleep over the last several nights.  Enough, already.  I just want to go home and see my little Emily and cuddle her and snuggle her and get big sloppy, wet kisses from her.  I’m ready to go home to my nice air conditioned house and do all my dirty laundry that has accumulated from the last three weeks. (Sheesh – I must be really sick.)

So – as we literally roll along over the waves of the interstate, we’re almost at the North Dakota/Montana line, listening to Jack Friday solve all kinds of crimes on the oldies radio station.  Ole is fighting a strong cross wind, Nala is trying not to throw up from “riding the waves” and I’m trying to stay a bit cooler than yesterday.  ETA, hopefully, barring any more “incidents” is this evening.

Keeping your fingers crossed please.

“Well,” (said with a big sigh of relief). I THINK we’re on our way home.  I’m truly ready for several reasons.  First of all, I’m having granddaughter withdrawals.  And second of all, I don’t think we can afford this trip anymore.  If you remember, we had “issues” on the way down to Sturgis.  And since we left Sturgis we’ve had MORE.

We were rolling along going west from Bozeman, running through lots of road construction.  Going up over a pass just east of Missoula and Ole noticed that the engine was starting to overheat.  He took the first pull off, turned off the engine and got out to check things over.  After a few minutes we came back inside and told me he could see shiny pullies in the back, which meant we had lost a belt of some sort.  We limped it over to a camp ground that happened to be very close by and I immediately got on the phone to put a call in to our emergency road service.

Meanwhile the campground hosts came motoring up in their ATV to see what was up.  along with the owner of the campground.  He hopped out of his truck, introduced himself and asked if there was anything he could help with.  He was a dog lover and immediately made friends with Nala.  He had made the mistake of leaving his pickup door open as he was on a mission of hauling wood for the campground.  Nala saw the open door, decided she liked the guy enough and hopped into the truck and moved over to the passenger seat.  He just chuckled and asked if he could take her for a ride in the a/c cab so she could cool off.  It was up on the 90s at the time and we were all hot.  So the hosts offered to take us to the rec room which was air conditioned, gave us all something cold to drink and visited with us while we waited for the tow truck, which took about an hour and a half. 

Meanwhile, I knew the tow truck wouldn’t take animals, nor would they tow the motorcycle trailer that was attached to the RV.  Another phone call to the friends we were headed to visit and they were immediatey on the road to come to our rescue.  They drove the 80 miles from their home and pulled into the campground at the same time the tow truck did. Nala and Lucy were loaded into the back of their SUV, the trailer was hooked up and we followed the tow truck the 40 miles into Missoula and to the diesel repair facility. 

It’s now getting to be about 7 o’clock.  They looked at it and told us to come back in an hour and it would be fixed.  Couldn’t believe ears – that we should be so lucky as to be on the road again in an hour.  Well – two hours later it still wasn’t fixed and they were closing up shop at 9 p.m.  We went the remaining 40 miles to our friend’s home and spent the night, hoping the RV would be the first thing on the agenda of the mechanic the next moring.  Not to be.  After several phone calls it was finally ready about 4 o’clock that afternoon.  With the first phone call,which was placed at noon, we found out that a mechanic hadn’t started on it yet.  With the second phone call at 2:30 p.m. we found out that they were in the process of putting it back together and we should call again in an hour.  When we called again at 4, it was reassembled, but hadn’t yet been tested.  So the guys went back another 40 miles hoping it would be ready by the time they got there.  GRRR.  So much for the job that was only going to take an hour initially. 

But – we got to spend another night with our friends and met two of their wonderful daughters and one son-in-law.  Terrific people. 

So we loaded up this morning, hooked up the trailer, said our goodbyes to our dear friends, lots of hugs, shed some tears and went on down the road.  Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll have an uneventful trip over the next 600 miles. 

PS:  I’m so glad we carry emergency road insurance.  The tow bill was over $2000, out of pocket expense was zero.  Unfortunately the service doesn’t cover the cost of repairs and that was in the hundreds of dollars!! 

 

 

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See you next year, Sturgis!

“So long Sturgis, see you next year,” I said, as we sent our friends on their way home and we exited the campground and drove down Lazalle with all the other motor homes and motorcycles heading out of town.  We hit I-90 and headed west with an uneventful trip (uneventful is good), landing in Bozeman for the night, with all the other Walmart campers.  There must have been 2 dozen motor homes in the parking lot in transit to somewhere else. 

That’s one good thing about Walmart – they are certainly RV friendly.  Of course, I have yet to spend a night in a Walmart parking lot without spending money in their store.  Last night I made a necessary trip inside because I didn’t want to have to do laundry before we get home.  Ole was in need of some undies (snicker).  Can’t have him wearing his shorts inside out now, can we? 

So essential purchases were made and on my way back to the rig I saw Ole outside visiting with another Walmart camper.  He had taken Nala out for her nightly constitutional when another gentleman walked up to him and started visiting.  He was extremely interested in Nala and told us she was a real beauty.  Turns out he had been a dog handler in the Army and upon retirement had been hired by the military to search out dogs that would make good K-9 units.  He worked with her for just a few minutes and said she would have been an exemplary dog as she is very intelligent and catches on to what you want very fast.  Do you think Ole was popping his buttons about then?  Yah, you bet.

ENOUGH, ALREADY!

“Ole,” I said between clinched teeth, “You better get me out of here or I’m going to slap somebody!” 

“Okay, okay, get on the bike and we’ll leave right now.”

We don’t normally spend so much time in downtown Sturgis, but due to my hip situation and the fact that I can’t ride long distances this year, downtown Sturgis has been our major source of entertainment.  This was our third day in a row fighting the masses of people and insane traffic, so I had truly had enough.  I was “peopled out.”  Get me back to the campground to some relative peace and quiet.  After a quick stop at the grocery store, Ole parked me in a lawn chair and put a toddy in my hand so I could mellow out.  And it even worked (chuckle).

That is it worked until the neighbor lady came wandering over to visit.  I was enjoying my peace and quiet but when she arrived there was a onslaught of constant chatter and it was all about NOTHING.  This lady is a true “southern belle” and doesn’t mind acting the part at all.  She thinks that every moment of quiet needs to be filled with her voice.  Although an accent from the deep south can be beautiful it can get overwhelming also when you hear it nonstop for long periods of time.  You don’t visit with her – it’s a one way conversation – you just listen.  And she’s an authority on everything, no matter what the subject.  She doesn’t mind telling you that she was raised in an “extremely wealthy” family, and that she has an “extremely” high IQ, and that she has a master’s degree, and that her husband makes a lot of money, and that they have two “extremely” lavish homes, and that she gives “lavish” cocktail parties frequently at both of their homes for all the neighbors – and on and on and on.  LADY, I DON’T CARE!  SHUT UP!  I wonder how her husband’s ears survive – he’s just a nice, down-to-earth guy whose company we have enjoyed.  I always try to remember what my father used to say – “Those that have it don’t talk about it, and those that don’t have it talk about it all the time.”  My father was a very perceptive man.

This is the 74th year of the Motorcycle Rally and the anticipated crowd this year is approximately 450,000.  And so far they’re right on target according to the local paper.  They measure the attendance by the garbage that is picked up every night at 2 a.m. All bikes have to be off Main Street by 2 a.m. or they are towed.  Next year is the 75th aniversary and the prediction is over a million bikers.  That will be a mad house.  We made our reservations for that one 2 years ago.

So obviously, with this kind of a crowd there’s a heavy police presence.  They’re always in groups patroling the streets.  Ole and I have visited with a number of the law enforcement folks over the years – most of them truly nice guys but of course there are some with an attitude.  They come from all over the United States and many of them spend their vacations working here in Sturgis.  As I was approaching one of the intersections the other day I could hear a whistle blowing repeatedly.  It was attached to the mouth of an officer with a huge moustache, a real soup strainer, who was dressed in his blues and wearing white gloves out in the middle of the intersection directing traffic.  All the other law enforcement are dressed in gray shirts, black pants and black ball caps, so this guy really stood out.  After watching for a couple of minutes I asked one of the policemen standing on the corner if this guy was for real or if he was just a source of entertainment.  I found out that he was truly an officer of the law from New York City that had come to Sturgis to work along with experiencing the rally.  Unfortunately, this blog won’t allow me to attach a video of him, but I think I’ll be able to post it separately.  He was very unique to say the least. 

Now for some pictures:

Note the head gear on this guy – looks a bit dangerous.

Hmmm -

She’s “advertising” for the store in back of her that does tatooing.

Note the “covers” that he has on his horns!

I wonder if he’s truly from Scotland or who knows what.

 

 

Hey, Toots, you need a ride?

I was sitting on a park bench in the shade of a large tree waiting for Ole, who had gone down the street to a jewelry store to see about getting a watch battery.  It was cool and pleasant with a slight breeze and the dull roar of the motorcycle engines was enough to lull me into a state of semi-consciousness.   I was leaning my chin on my chest when I heard this male voice, “Hey,Toots, you need a ride somewhere?”  I knew they weren’t talking to me because I haven’t been called “Toots” in about a hundred years or so.  Apparently they were determined to knock me out of my reverie and again, “Hey, Lady, are you okay?  Do you need a ride somewhere?”  Now, I’m on the down side of 60 (no comments from the peanut gallery, Burl), so who in his right mind would be trying to pick ME up?

I slowly opened my eyes and glanced in the direction the voice had come from, and there, in all their glory were the three “gents” that had been in the VFW making all kinds of loud noises and being obnoxious.  We had just come off a ride down Vanocker Canyon, then up 385 into Deadwood, stopped at the VFW to soak up some of their a/c and have a little toddy.  Ole’s toddy consisted of cold water, mine was a bit on the stronger side.  There were three guys sitting at the table next to us, one in particular was very loud.  They were planning their agenda for the remainder of the day – another at the VFW, then a stop at the Silverado, then the No. 10 Saloon and then down the highway to Sturgis where they would hit Gunars, The Dungeon, The Knuckle, The Loud American Roadhouse and then if they could still walk (saying nothing about riding a motorcycle) they would head for the Full Throttle Saloon. 

Obviously, I told them no thank you, I didn’t need a ride, and I was just fine.

Later on in the evening, back at the campground, I heard that there had been a five bike pileup on the curves just north of Sturgis coming down the mountain from Deadwood.  Four seriously injured and one dead.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the “gents” from the VFW.  This is so much NOT a place to drink and drive, nor is it a place to be a newbie and come here to learn to ride your newly acquired motorcycle.  We saw several cases of “stupid” and one ”severely stupid”  yesterday, just in the 11 mile stretch from Deadwood to Sturgis.

Now for a few pictures:

Main Street of Sturgis already full of bikes.  Main Street has been blocked off since Thursday. They used to hold off until the first official day of the rally, which is Sunday.

 

The Sons of Silence were already in town on Thursday.  That’s no uncommon.  But here’s a gang we had never seen before.  I’ll let you figure out what the UMF stands for.  It was the women that seemed to be running the show and the guys were just the followers.  Hmmm.

Here’s a better view of the back of their vests.

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I tried to get a shot of the front of this little chick but everytime she faced me someone stepped in the way.  She was wearing this mesh top with NOTHING under it.  She even had cowwboy boots that were covered with blue glitter.  She was covered with expensive jewelry and at first I thought she was a hooker, but upon watching for a bit she was with a group of people when we stopped for lunch at Nemo.  Wonder how she got on and off the back of a bike without lots of fresh air in places that aren’t normally exposed (chuckle).

I thought this was rather out of the ordinary – someone was riding a Vespa all decked out with all kinds of “tree hugger” graphics.  Just a bit out of place among all the “big boy” bikes.

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We planned to head south to Rapid City this morning, but the radar shows that it’s raining quite hard between here and our destination so I guess we’ll stick around camp for a bit.  Getting rained on riding isn’t much fun.

Keeping the shiny side up – Love, Lena

 

 

Yah, and then the microwave blew up!

Poof – pop – a flash of light and the microwave didn’t work anymore.  Ole was outside doing burgers on the grill and I went inside to warm up some refried beans in the microwave.  Needless to say, that didn’t happen!  Ole has determined that the control panel start button doesn’t work anymore.  I thought that was rather brilliant – all the other buttons work until you get to the start button.  Then nothing.  Oh,well, the one good thing is that I won’t be doing any cooking for the rest of the trip.  There always seems to be something good that comes out of everything bad.  Isn’t that right?

Unfortunately this is going to be an expensive item to replace if it can’t be fixed as it’s a combination convection/microwave oven.  $$$

Several of you have asked how Nala is doing.  For those of you who don’t know, Nala is a 5 year old German Shepherd that we rescued after we lost our other shepherds – both of them within 6 months of each other.  Nala is blossoming, although she does have some issues to work through.  Things are coming around much more rapidly than what we expected.  Nala was extremely timid and would run the moment she got off the leash.  Calling her was a lost cause – all you could see was her tail waving as she ran away.  Fortunately she would always come back after a short time.  We’ve had her off the leash the majority of the time here in the campground and only once has she attempted to take off.  She ran down the road a couple of RV sites away, stopped, turned around and looked at us and came back.  We didn’t call her or shame her or discpline her in anyway but gave her a treat when she returned. 

She also has horrible separation anxiety and at home tried to claw her way through the door in Ole’s office.  Damaged the door and the sheet rock next to it.  Being quite concerned about what she would do in the RV when left alone we talked to Dr. Brad at Casselton Vet about it.  He prescribed some puppy Xanax for us that seems to be working.  Dr. Brad is quite sure this anxiety will pass once she learns that she can trust us to always come home to her. We were gone for approximately 4 hours today and all was quiet when we arrived home.  When she heard us talking outside the rig she started to howl like a child crying. But after visiting with the neighbors who were home all afternoon, they told us after about 5 minutes all was quiet when we left.  So that’s good.

Nala is getting treats from Ole.

The campground is slowly filling up, more rigs slowly arriving as the day goes on.  I’m sure that by tomorrow the spaces will be filling in.  So it’s good that we got here early to acclimate Nala to the surroundings and the noise before the campground is full. 

We did venture out for about 4 hours today – lunch in Deadwood and then up through Spearfish Canyon.  This is always one of my favorite rides.  Then on to the DQ in Spearfish.  It wouldn’t be a trip through Spearfish Canyon without a stop at the DQ.  But this year we’re missing our dear friends from Arizona, Karen and Dave, who are always with us when we stop at the DQ.  Karen is an ice cream junkie just like I am – right Karen.  They are unable to be here this year due to health reasons.  But next year we’ll give her H-E- double toothpicks, right Karen?

That ride was long enough today (and actually it’s a short ride) to make me realize I really need to have my other hip replaced.  I had the left one done about 5 years ago, and now the right one is all shot to you know what.  By the time we got back to camp I was in severe pain and had a difficult time just getting off the bike.  Whoever told me these were going to be the golden years lied.  I’m going to hunt that guy down and when I find him I’m going to pound him severely!  So this means we’ll probably be spending more time in downtown Sturgis than we normally do.  But that will mean more pictures of “unusual” people and things. All is pretty quiet as yet but I’ll keep you posted as things “heat up.”

Love you all – Lena

 

The REAL Adventures of Ole and Lena – it aint pretty

“You know, Lena, I feel like one of my butt cheeks is sitting lower than the other.  How do yours feel?” 

“Well, Ole,” I said, “Isn’t that a rather personal question?  I’m not sure I want to tell you, but now that you’ve brought it up, I guess my right one feels like it’s sitting lower than the left.”

“Yah, that’s what I thought too.  Maybe I should get out and check things over.  You never know what’s going to go wrong with these motorhomes.  You have to expect at least ONE thing with every trip you make, you know.”

Well, Ole got out and checked things over and sure enough – there was something wrong in the rear end of the RV – its right-hand butt cheek was sitting lower than the others, just like Ole’s and mine.  A quick phone call to the Freightliner dealer told us that they had the correct part, but couldn’t get our RV in for repairs until next week.  Now Bismarck, ND isn’t exactly the place we want to hang around for a week or so, especially when we’re headed for Sturgus, SD and the big bike rally.  Bismarck – boring.  Sturgis – excitement.  No brainer.  So Ole bought the part and dragged out all his trusty tools that he carries in the RV for just such occasions.  We motored on over to the Wal-mart parking lot and Ole crawled under, the RV and fixed the whole shenanigan.  You should have seen him when he crawled out – pretty black – you would have thought he was a “grease monkey” working for some big equipment company.  But it was fixed and we motored on down the road. 

We headed the direction of Hettinger, ND where we have long time high school friends who own and run the local Super Valu grocery store.  We thought it would be fun to stop in and just say “Hi, how are you.”  We were lucky enough to find Mike in the store, not home for supper as it was getting to be that hour.  Hadn’t seen him since high school graduation almost 50 years ago.  Ole walked up to him and said, “Hi, Mike.  High school class of l965, right?  Married to Kathy, right?”  Mike’s response, “Who the H*** are you, anyway.”  Ole kept spouting little bits of information that he knew about him and Mike became more and more puzzled.  He looked at me and said, “Lena, you look very familiar, but I just can’t put a name on you.”  And then he proceeded to call his wife to come down to the store.  She walked in and of course, immediately recognized us.  Had a good visit with them – fun to see them both.  So fun to surprise people like that.

Then it was on down the road heading toward Sturgis.  We really should have stopped for the night before we crossed the ND/SD line, but Ole is one of these people that just wants to keep going.  Once you cross the border into SD it’s a wasteland.  There is nowhere to pull off the road for the night, no gas stations, no wide spots in the road for the next umpty-two miles.  So you better have a full tank of gas when you venture into northwestern South Daktoa.  There ain’t nothing there but a few cows and a mail box or two.  No building sites, no lights off in the distance – nothing.  I think we met probably three cars in a 150 mile stretch. 

So we just kept heading south, and about the time we got within a half mile of the campground we had reserved, the headlights started flashing.  Not a good thing when it’s dark out.  Ole finally decided to turn on the big spot light that sits on the roof of the RV in order to see where we were driving.  Can you imagine being an oncoming car and seeing this THING coming down the road at you with this unbelievably bright light – but only one – thinking they must be seeing an alien space ship coming at them? Fortunately there were no cops so we made it to the campground without hitting the ditch.  And of course by this time the registration office was closed.  So here we are, driving around the campground with this bright spot light searching for our campsite.  But we made it.  We’re parked, set up and are enjoying life. 

Well, that’s all for tonight folks.  I’ve been having trouble with my computer so hopefully this will post and you can see it. 

Love from Ole and Lena land – more tomorrow when the adventure continues.

 

 

Shades of American Graffiti

When I was in high school my Dad decided to buy me a car.  I guess he got tired of me always asking to borrow his, or worried that I’d smash it up or some such thing, although I never put a scratch in any car the entire time I was in high school.  He had a 1957 Desoto at that time.

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 It had fins the size of airplane wings and looked like it could take off at any moment.  It had automatic pushbutton drive to the left of the steering wheel so it was a cinch to drive – no shifting or popping the clutch (which was fun).  It was a hardtop, so you could be really cool when you were dragging Broadway.  We’d roll down all the windows regardless of the temperature, push the button into gear away we’d go.

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Back then it was not a standard feature to have air conditioning in your car – it had to be special ordered.  I vividly remember one very hot, steamy summer night when my Dad had given me his car and a bunch of us girls decided to drag Broadway.  We rolled up all the windows and PRETENDED we had air conditioning so we could be really cool.  How pretentious – and stupid.  All we did was sweat like pigs and besides that we couldn’t hear what the guys were saying to us when we passed.  Duh!!

Dragging Broadway was the “Thing” to do back then.  Broadway was about seven blocks long in our city, and the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night.  A good place to burn up a tank of gas, but then it was only 32 cents a gallon back then.  You’d eventually meet up with a carload of guys (that you knew of course), park your car and pile into theirs.  Then it was off to some fast food joint for a coke and a burger, or maybe even out to some back-country road if they happened to have some beer.

Then my Dad decided he would buy me my own car – and THIS is what he bought me.  I didn’t have any input at all – he just came home with this one day and told me it was mine.

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It was a 1951 Nash Rambler with a six cylinder with a stick shift on the column – the epitome of style, aerodynamics and speed, huh?  I just about died from embarrassment because I thought it was so ugly.  But then, what the hey, it was wheels and  most of my friends weren’t even allowed to borrow their dad’s car.

So – take what you get and make the best of it.  The thing my Dad didn’t realize though, is what an impression the fold-down seats would make on all my friends!  Okay – get your mind out of the gutter, now!  By this time I was dating Ole, (and he had a 1949 Ford) and most usually we spent our time with several of his guy friends and their girls.  So with fold-down seats it could turn into quite a party – now I TOLD you to get your mind out of the gutter, didn’t I???

I remember one night in particular – very cold and snowing – and the guys had managed to get some Buckhorn beer for $1 a six-pack.  There were Ole and me; his two next-door neighbor girls, Jean and Sue; several of his buddies, Junior, Ronnie, Donnie, and Dennis, and a couple of others girls I can’t even remember at this point.  We all piled into my Little Nash Rambler, Ole popped the clutch and we sped out of town sounding like a little sewing machine, headed for some back-country road to drink that Buckhorn.  When we found a suitable spot we flipped those seats down and all sat in a circle and had a high old time until the Buckhorn was gone.  Needless to say, my car became known as the Party Car, unbeknownst to my Dad who I’m sure didn’t take those fold-down seats into consideration when he bought me that car.

Big Brother had to suffer through a Nash Rambler too, when he went to college.  His was a 1949 up-side-down bathtub.  But it had lots of potential – -

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At one point he and a buddy stored a beer keg in the cavern-sized trunk, ran plastic tubing through the interior of the car up to the dash, and hooked the tubing to a handle so they could draw beer out of the spigot – how convenient, huh?

Of course back in those days the consequences for being a minor consuming consisted of a slap on the wrist and being sent on your way.  Not the case nowadays – fortunately.  When I think of all the things that COULD have happened I cringe and I think of just how lucky we were.  My heart goes out to all the parents who have lost children under these circumstances or any others.

So car interests continue for us – Ole now has his favorite little ’29 Model A coupe that he loves.  The only problem is that Model As were made only for skinny, short people.  You have to turn into a pretzel to get in and out and it’s not uncommon to be rubbing thighs as you go down the road.  Then there’s the ’40 Ford coupe that he’s street rodded and on occasion takes to the drag strip to burn a little rubber.  My favorite, though, is the ’51 Ford convertible – red with a white top.  It’s a big boat, holds 6 people comfortably, and belonged originally to a high school friend of ours, so we’ve got a long history with that car.

Love, Lena

The Bermuda Triangle of Socks & the Poop Truck

Two socks enter the washer but only one comes out, never to be seen again.

Fortunately Ole wears the white crew socks made by Hanes with the red lettering across the bottom of the toe.  So when a sock goes MIA, its leftover mate has to find solace with the loner that’s already in the drawer.  After this has happened frequently enough I have to go out and buy Ole some more socks.

Now where do you suppose those MIA socks go?  There are a lot of theories out there – the Bermuda Triangle of Missing Socks is definitely one.  They’re sucked into the black hole of Sockland to enjoy the remainder of their life not being tramped on by some person or stuck into a big boot for the day where they can’t breathe not only due to tight conditions, but can you imagine the foot odor down there?

Maybe it’s the sock company’s marketing ploy.  Every other sock is made from a type of fabric that’s designed to dissolve when put into the dryer.  If we didn’t have this problem who would buy so many socks so damn often?

Then again, maybe they flip over the side of the washing machine tub during the spin cycle, worm their way down the drain, and in our case into the septic tank.  Ha!  Fooled them – there’s no escape from the septic tank until it gets pumped.  (I have another story to tell you about THAT).  Possibly they thought they were city socks and would go down the sewer pipe and eventually reach the ocean where they could work their way to some sandy beach and lay in the sun to get bleached perfectly white again.  That is if some octopus or giant squid that was collecting socks for all their tentacles didn’t accost them. Anyway, solving that mystery is just too much for my brain today.  Just in case you’re wondering I’ve been doing laundry and Ole’s missing more socks.

Now, on to the septic tank story.  This might be an information overload for you so if you’re easily offended you may want to stop reading.  If you like a good chuckle – keep on.

I have a cousin who used to run a septic tank pumping business.  Now this cousin has a really warped sense of humor, but he is so very funny.   He called his truck The Poop Truck, and on the side he had painted “Your shit is my bread and butter.” When you run a business like that you are kind of on call 24 hours a day.  If someone runs into trouble, which frequently happens in the winter, you need to go to their rescue right away so they can get their system up and running again before everything freezes up.  Can you imagine trying to thaw out a 2000-gallon septic tank?  It’s not easy.

So late one winter afternoon he got a panicky call from a local resident (an elderly bachelor) whose tank was full and could he come out and do the job.  And of course, he did.  Back in those days you could empty The Poop Truck out in a farmer’s field if you had permission from the farmer.  So Cousin was out in the field, spraying the contents into the air.  It was a cold evening so he was sitting inside the truck waiting for the contents to empty.  When it did, he went to the back of the truck to clean the hoses and put things away when he happened to glance up into the trees.  There, covering the trees like Christmas balls was an array of brightly colored condoms swaying in the breeze!  They remained there for the winter, easily viewed from the road that went by, until the trees got their leaves in the spring.  I guess he received a lot of questions about where that load came from, but he respected his customer’s privacy and only snickered when the question came up.

All for today – Love Lena