“Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” —Jack Kerouac
Flashing back through a haring rearing—tearing past the drive-ins out by the airstrip, veering round the bend by the scrub oak and thistle, scaring hogs in the bog by the whistling hayrick, steering up the grade past the shade trees in the yard—to a stop at the start: Pop’s garage.
Moral: One who rushes, from first to last blushes, learns the moral of one’s crushes.
We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future —Marshall McLuhan
First crush. Pop teaches a boy to shift for himself. That stick is no toy. In First, what a rush, as Pop’s pride and joy breaches the beeches, stuck as a bump on a log. The teacher hollers like a collarless preacher. A boy’s first blush.
Moral: If in First you don’t leave the yard, what’s a Second for?
You know, I’m cursed with morals. I was raised a certain way. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I was raised by wolves —Carson Daly
Naugahyde, a rush to the touch of tender youth, to be truthful. Behind the codpiece of Pop’s so-lined lux liner lurks young Mr. Hyde. Out by the airstrip, stick in Neutral, uncouth youth revels in revving up the pitch, then jerks the stick into Drive.
Moral: On the wrong side of the strip, in a crushing slide, a jerk in a ditch with tender hide.
About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after —Ernest Hemingway
Pop forgives a jerk by turning a missile over to a musclehead: the hop-back-up-on-whatever-tosses-you-off approach. Out by the airstrip, the rush of its thrust is a crush best forgotten. Just another road hog in a fog, whistling past the drive-ins, whipping like the wind round the bend.
Moral: Whipping wind forgives and forgets, whistles like it couldn’t care less, should scrub oak and thistle reproach a missile or a road hog encroach a bog.
Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men —Confucius
The Wild One rumbles the American Dream, onscreen at the drive-in out by the airstrip, humble matrons in station wagons scream like teens with a crush on a hunk, when a duck-tailed hound dog’s hot rod smokes its slicks, branding the strip like an outlaw hog on the bunk.
Moral: To stay an outlaw hog in a rush to make an impression with one’s wild obsession, a hayrick’s as good as a bog.
All things will be clear and distinct to the man who does not hurry; haste is blind and improvident –Livy
Thinking small, a harebrained teenager is smitten by a bug. The little engine that could is in the tail. Round the bend, it hugs like a snail. Bites nice on snow. You know it’s imprudent to stomp brakes on ice, though, when the little engine is in the nose, and couldn’t. Pop wins the wager.
Moral: Crush a snail that bites your tail, don’t rush to blame Ralph Nader.
A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car —Kenneth Tynan
Skaters at the drive-in diner can’t help slamming into a nimrod’s topless babe magnet with their trays. Orange crush and chicken in the bucket seats. Nesting thrushes pick it clean in the yard. At the drive-in movie out by the airstrip, stick in Park, it’s pot luck in Pop’s heavy metal barge.
Moral: A good picture show isn’t the only good reason to rush to a drive-in movie, you know.
To attract men, I wear a perfume called ‘New Car Interior’ —Rita Rudner
Pop’s waxing large in the yard, while a pinhead is still thinking small. Just greased the wheels of a slick little roller in the garage, when, due to a loose nut on the pinhead at the helm, it skates out the door like a greased hog, defacing Pop’s waxed barge. Yet, there is saving grace, in the crushing embrace of an elm.
Moral: South of a garage with a small thinker in charge, a shade tree is good feng shui.
And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension —Ayrton Senna
Funny pop songs on the radio, in the rush hour crush, as the antique roadshow slows to the pace of a marching band, and quick as Hopalong at a rodeo in Wonderland, the haring bunny stops.
Moral: Slow, steady, the tortoise’s pace wins the race.
How many writers can’t drive? A lot. They’re not practical. They are not capable in everyday life ― Ha Jin
– Epilogue –
Out by the airstrip, a windsock would be darned.
Round the bend, from scrub oak mighty acorns grow.
A hayrick whistles as whipping winds blow.
Happiness is a bog, for a skinny-dipping hog.
Shade trees dapple the light on the yard.
Crushes and rushes gather laurels; blushes fade.
Up the grade, stopped at the start,
the moral’s displayed in Pop’s garage.
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something —Henry David Thoreau
10 Comments Post a comment
Wow. These cars are so cool 😎
Where did you find the original photos?
Among dated calendars,
gilt-edge traffic citations,
license plates bearing scars,
pinup cheesecake catalogs,
place-mat maps of vacations,
music sheets, bands from cigars;
Kodak snaps of kiddie karts
(out to pasture in the yard):
paper walls in Pop’s garage.
Thank you, David. 🙂
all on the wall in Pop’s garage. 🙂
I fit the bill
a writer who
Actually I can drive but I don’t like to. This was different and very interesting. The photos reminded me a lot of road to Hana in Maui. People just seemed to drive their cars until they broke and then left them. Some became beautiful works of graffiti. It was a rough road.
Didn’t get to Maui, but picture the road as rough as the one I walked on Kauai. Saw the very first Ferrari 308 in a showroom. Wowee. I had a silver dollar in my jeans, so I flipped it. Read the signs, and walked on. Almost a half-century later, I’m asking the earth spirits to hurry summer along already. The work of art in my garage (not a Ferrari, a 49-year-old 2-seat people’s car without a roof) could use an airing. Let me know if you need a ride. 🙂
Yeah, Kuai’s roads can be pretty rough, too. If I need a ride, I’ll call but I think we live on different continents. I’m in the US, N. America. Aren’t you in Europe?
Rented a finca in Ibiza, ’71-72, saw most of the Continent, then some others. My garage has been in southern Quebec, which is perhaps more European than, say New Orleans, since my antique two-seater was fairly new. Someplace on your blog I got the idea that the sun and moon shine on your homestead in Michigan. I was in Detroit once in the ’60s on business, wasting my time looking at cars. 🙂
Detroit is a great place to look for cars. Yes, I live about 20 miles north of Detroit. I grew up in Tennessee, though, so I think I am Southern at heart. So we are on the same continent! Good to know. Is your name Pierre? I am doing Duolingo to try to re-learn French these days.
I failed high school French in New York City, and in college learned a Spanish song.
My dear wife speaks French with a Canadian-English accent.
My partner in picture poetry, Pierre, speaks English with a French-Canadian accent.
One of my favorite accents is charcoal filtered Tennessee. :
Bonne chance avec Duolingo!
De nada. 🙂