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Reflections and cloudy visions

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  • Reflections and cloudy visions

    It's that time of the year when we start reflecting on the past and thinking of the future once again. I've been listening to classic 60's and 70's rock for the last week or so since not much else has been going on. I get lost in remembrance of a lot of those tunes, some from around 50 years ago when I first got interested in rock music. There was a lot of turmoil going on in the country back then that I was barely aware of, Vietnam, the hippie movement, protests, a lot like we hear of today. The difference was I was still a kid, living at home with my parents, only cares I had were my chores and what to play with. No bills, money meant nothing to me because I never had any, didn't know what I was missing. I always thought we were poor, and we lived like it, but actually my Dad made pretty good money, he was just tight as hell. His parents lived through the depression as dirt poor sharecroppers, so it was impressed upon him to save every penny he made. We could have had a lots nicer stuff, and even though we never suffered, we lived with second best everything. Clothes that were home made by my Mom or bought from Sears, we never ate out at restaurants, we didn't even get a color TV until 1968. It was a simpler life, in rural Alabama we were far away from the turmoil of the big cities that was shown to us on the nightly news. The lyrics of those songs didn't really sink in to me, in fact, a lot of them I couldn't understand anyway, I just enjoyed the beat and the harmony. I knew they were forever going to be apart of me, they still are to this day.

    As I got older, I awakened to the world around me. I started desiring things I didn't have that other kids did have, and it was made plain to me if I wanted those things, I'd have to work for them. I thank my parents for instilling that great work ethic into my life, I think it is one reason I have survived. I started working when I was in my early teens, cutting grass for folks, cleaning windows, hauling hay, anything I could pick up to do. I started buying my own clothes, got the stereo I wanted, bought 8 track tapes of the music I loved. Oh, I saved money, too. By the time I was 16, I had enough I paid cash for my first car, a 1967 Mustang 200 I6 C4, paid for my own insurance and tags. I started working part time after school in a garment plant sweeping the floor, which turned into a full time job. I went to school half a day, then put in a shift at the plant. That weak I6 Mustang was soon replaced with a 1967 289 V8 one, one that I should have kept by the way, and it soon had a set of Torque Thrust wheels and white letter tires and dual exhaust. And of course, the best AM/FM 8 track in dash radio that Sears sold! I think I had about 6 speakers hidden in the interior, it was high tech before it was cool!
    But as I matured, my sights changed as my hormones started increasing, I discovered girls!

    I dated a few before I met the one who would become my wife. She was [and still is for the most part] as big an auto junkie as I was, loved music, although my tastes were more toward hard rock and her towards middle of the road. We discovered country music when Willie, Waylon, and Hank Jr got popular, but left it when it started sounding more like pop. I returned to rock, but slowly it became more pop, too, or morphed into grunge and hip hop, and I quit listening at all. When we got married, we had time to enjoy life together. We both worked, but we had off time where we went places and did things. Lots of saturday nights would find us at a dragstrip somewhere, or maybe a rock concert. Saw some good bands, ZZ TOP, Foreigner, Molly Hatchet, several others. But when we started a family, things changed. Kids became job 1, incomes were never quite enough, we sacrificed so the kids could have better than we had. We had our ups and downs, but we made it. But when we lost the youngest in a wreck, we about lost ourselves. I'm not going to go any farther than to say it was tough around here for a long time. We had just began to enjoy life again because we were basically empty nesters, the oldest was gone and the youngest took care of himself. It really shook us. Then about the time we are getting back to normal a few years later, the Grandson comes into our life. Another big change when we had to take him away from his mother. I don't regret it one bit. He is the light of my life, even though I'm too old to be raising a child.

    Now, money is tight again for us. Had a pretty good retirement plan started, a series of a couple of bad trucks, bad breakdowns, a poor economy and other things pretty much killed that. We get out of the hole, then get right back in it seems like. My home time is almost non existent anymore, I have to work within the legal boundaries now, no cutting corners, no extra loads to help out, no moonlight jobs on weekends anymore. I keep counting the months until I turn 62 so maybe I can retire and work 3-4 days a week and have some home time again. I keep looking toward the future, but the vision is still too cloudy. I'm glad 2018 is over, it was a bitch to me. I'm hoping 2019 is better. I want to get back to enjoying life again instead of struggling to make ends meet. I can listen to those songs from long ago and they take me back to those feelings when I didn't have a care in the world, the world was mine for the taking. I haven't missed the politics that much the last two weeks, in fact, it's been a pleasant break. My mind has been clearer without all the hate and discontent. I don't know what the new year will bring, but I intend on taking it on in full force, all the while with my ears on the past, listening to that great music that makes me think about other things than the problems of the world. If ya need me, I'll be living in 1965-1980, rocking down the highway.....

    HAPPY NEW YEAR M&M!!!!!!
    ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
    -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
    -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
    " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

    "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

  • #2


    Nice honest post, I wish good health and luck to you for 2019 and beyond. There's a lot to be said for growing old, both good and bad. Talk to any one and they might tell you it sucks to grow old, (I'm 58) when I was young, I fell in love with cars at an early age hanging out with my dad and grandpa. They let me clean parts for them with gasoline..I built model cars dreaming of one day having my own wheels. Bicycles filled the need until the mini bike entered the scene, man that was fun. I put a zillion miles on it. My dad was a local tractor trailer driver, (he just kinda retired at 78) and to this day is still my best motorhead bud. In '78 I enlisted in the USAF to get to hell out of my small town in NH, at my first duty station in GA, I bought a '69 Sportback and shortly spied a beautiful gal driving her Grabber Green '70 Mach-1. She enlisted for the same reasons as me (her home was Colorado Springs CO). Long story short, we met, she needed a mechanic and I tried in vain to buy the spoiler off her Mach, heck she was a dumb old girl easy peasy right? We fell in love and got married 4 months later, Dec 26,1980.
    I enlisted hoping to learn a trade (jet engine mechanic) in my ignorance of the system, they put me in a general mechanical field and I was assigned job career #461X0, munitions maint. tech. Learned a lot about explosives, what to do and not to do. I was assigned to the SAC and transported alot of nukes to and from the alert pad, 4 B-52's armed to the teeth ready to be in the air in a very short time. This was the height of the cold war...I did learn to operate a lot of heavy equipment including tractor trailers which served me well upon my honorable discharge in '82. After a few years of some detail shop work I took up my dad's career and have been driving tractor trailers here in New England for nearly 30 years now. I didn't have the onions to buy/drive my own rig ( and I tip my hat to every owner operator out there) so it has been company trucks for my years. I still love getting behind the wheel and hearing my rock and roll blend with a whining turbocharger all day. For the past 10 years I've been peddling freight for a local company and love the 5 minute commute. I wish it was a long nosed Peterbilt, but alas a 6 wheel Freightliner but it pays the bills. My body is still holding up pretty well, other than the usual aches and pains associated with a 58 year old frame, we still have my wife's GG Mach-1 and honestly I wish weathered time as good as it is. Sylvia and I have 2 grown daughters ( yes one is named Shelby) they are the love of our lives, no grandchildren though, probably not gonna have any.
    As if I needed more to keep me busy, 15 years ago I picked up a pen and camera and have been freelancing automotive writing and shooting since for a local hot rodding newspaper and a couple national automotive and trucking magazines. Trucking is fun, but the writing is really fun although it doesn't bring in enough cake to take me out of the cab. I've met some amazing people in the automotive hobby, got a tour of JayLeno's garage and sat in a running front engined AA/FD while it was warming up...I also regularly attend the uphill tractor trailer drags in St. Joseph Debeauce Canada, that is also awesome.
    I can see retirement on the future, hopefully our saving and retirement plans will bear fruit we will see. Our big together thing will be to rent a camper or RV and tour the USA together for a while and settle down here in New England and grow very old together.
    I really enjoy the people here on this forum, there are probably millions out there, but this one is fine for me, don't have to search for any others to occupy my time. Sorry for not stopping by lately, but I will make an attempt to correct that. In closing I wish everybody here a healthy, happy 2019 and beyond...hamma down folks!!!! One last thank you to Steve for keeping this forum going, it is appreciated!!!!!
    1970 Mach 1, my wife's first car purchased for $1800 in 1977. .30 over 351 Cleveland 4V FMX tranny. Best ET with 3:00 to 1 gears 13.9 @ 102 mph

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