Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lackey's got a lump...

At our latest show in the Rochester Museum of Science, the young lady who was in the area next to ours cancelled, the day of the event. Christine DeTurk, one of the organizers of the show asked if we could "spread out" a bit and take over the young ladies spot. Boy could we.
The show takes place amoung the museum displays. Many of the vendors' spaces require inventive set up. Most of our display panels are actually louvered doors hinged together, this makes each two door set, freestanding when the panels are set at an angle. Some are quite heavy. Spreading out became fun, before we left home, we were unsure of the shape and size of the space we would have this year, I had loaded all the louvered panels we own into our little trailer.
After a few initial trips, Betty started to arange shutters around the floor, imagining the best way to take advatage of the extra space.
After half a dozen trips from the trailer to the second floor I sat down in a folding chair to take a short break. About the same time my stalwart partner stood a two piece set of doors five feet or so behind and off to my right side. I inocently began taking a sip from my coffee cup when the set of doors fell on my head. I saw stars momentarily and as is my custom, when I've been served a painful blow, especially by surprise, I spoke a few choice profanities.
Betty's custom, particularrly while we are in public, is to admonish me for any profanity, which she did immediatly, shortly after the stars left my vision and before the nasty lump started to swell on my head.
I thought only bad thoughts for some time. More later>>>

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thoughts from 1968

Terry Stephan

Changing Lanes:inflationaryvehicles.
A friend of mine is flying to Los Angeles. She and her significant-other will spend 4½ hours getting there, including a stopover in Chicago. It brings to mind my first trip to southern California. I was 18 and it was an adventure. I hitched a ride with a friend; Rich had to report for duty at a military base in Sacramento.
We left Western New York in a blizzard, in Rich’s 1964½ Mustang, something Lee Iacocca morphed from a Ford Falcon. To save money, we were going to share the ride driving straight through to LA. The car rode like the Ford Falcon it was- as if it had no springs or shocks.
Before we left, we bought two loaves of Wonder Bread and a couple of jars of peanut butter and jelly. We made PB&J sandwiches, placing them all back into the bread bags, two loaves of meals for the trip.
A huge bird, of unknown origin, smashed our windshield in Tennessee; we lost a muffler in Arkansas, and saw a blazing barn fire at 2 AM in Oklahoma. Still on rte 66, we spent hours and hours, crossing the panhandle of Texas, amazed at the size of it all.
While one of us drove, the other would try to sleep; the front bucket seats weren’t roomy and didn’t recline far. We took turns sitting in the back seat with our legs stretched out on top of the driveline “hump” down the middle of the car, feet propped on the center console beside the driver. There seemed no comfortable position in which to snooze.
Exhausted, stunned by the heat, both of us sweating profusely in the non-air conditioned little Ford, we recalled that a day and a half before, we couldn’t keep our windshield wipers free of ice.
I had horrendous indigestion from the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of peanut butter and jelly, washed down with warm Pepsi. The second loaf of Wonder Bread and PB&J began turning into heavy, colorful, goo in its bag. It smelled surprisingly bad when opened. I don’t think rolling around in the car with the heat helped any.
We splurged one night, basking in twin, lumpy, air-conditioned and non-moving beds in an Albuquerque motel.
We imagined we were as carefree and daring as Tod and Buz from the TV show Rte 66, after all, we were on rte 66 and we were two guys. Carefree we weren’t though, we had to keep moving, or we would soon become penniless vagrants.
It got hotter when we hit Needles, California and cooler, back down in the lower 80’s, when we neared the coast.
We spent more money than planned; our pooled resources were used up, repairing the Mustang, and for the motel.
Back East, Rich and I frequented pool halls in Western NY. We played for money and most of the times, won enough to shoot all evening, and often eat out afterwards as well.
We spotted a pool hall a few doors down from a pawnshop in Van Nuys. I was going to stay with relatives in the LA suburbs and didn’t want to show up with no money. I hocked the only thing of value I had, a big old camera. We figured we would make some cash hustling at the pool hall, then I would get my camera back and Rich could buy a meal or two on his way to Sacramento. We counted our cash, then saved a ten-dollar bill out for gas, if the unthinkable happened, Rich could still make Sacramento by his appointed time.
We learned that Van Nuys pool shooters are very good.
I rang the doorbell at my aunt’s house with a quarter in my pocket. My aunt and uncle took pity on Rich, fed the both of us and he drove on to Sacramento.
Today, I would probably take a plane to LA, but I savor the ride we took in that Mustang. We drove most of rte 66 when it was still a vibrant highway with a thousand gaudy tourist traps, miles of sand, rusty-layered rocks, and at least one snow capped mountain.
I could have done without the peanut butter and jelly.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

About Mr. Bailey - a recent column

Terry Stephan

Changing Lanes:realcamping
A friend of mine, whom I now call Bubba, just acquired a camper. He was perusing new campers priced in the tens of thousands of dollars when another friend of his offered him a used camping trailer, free. He liked the ancient 24-foot Corsair right off the bat. It had two axles and while he joked about the color scheme, I think the orange, yellow and brown upholstery was what he liked best. In the original Corsair sales brochure, found in a drawer, a fashionably modern 70’s woman is pictured lounging in the camper in her neatly pressed camping slacks (I think they were bell-bottoms) and mohair sweater. She and her bouffant hair-doo look uncomfortable. I imagine her discomfort was due to the gaudy orange and yellow interior she had to model in, or the threat of being photographed in the other available color scheme, ‘Avocado’.
I was to meet Bubba at his friends’ house; my presence was requested to follow him in my car while he pulled the trailer to a shop for repair. The brakes and brake lights did not work and there were no turn signals. I didn’t mind following him and I would have suggested it if Bubba had not asked. I would rather follow him in my car as he pulled the trailer to the repair shop, than ride with him. It wasn’t a long drive but much of it was on a hilly and twisted section of old route 219 known locally as Nunweiler Hill.
As I drove to our meeting place, the ride took me back years, to a time when I traversed this same stretch of road as a young man. I was in the passenger seat of my 1962 Rambler convertible, dozing. My little brother David was driving with a learner’s permit. We shared a ride most of that summer and he drove, like any other 16 year old, whenever he could coerce someone to let him. Leaving home at 6 AM meant I was easily coerced; I spent my trip to work dozing rather than driving.
A quite string of mumbled expletives from David woke me from my slumber; the fright in his voice was unmistakable. The first thing I noticed, his knuckles, were white as he grasped the steering wheel. The second thing I noticed was one of our tires rolling out ahead of us on the right shoulder of the road, traveling by itself. It was supposed to be attached to the car we were riding in. The Rambler didn’t have a smooth ride to begin with - on three wheels, it was decidedly worse.
I grabbed the dashboard in front of me and offered verbal encouragement to David, mixed with my own expletives. In a lackluster end to our incident, David brought the old Rambler to a rest, on the remaining wheels and one brake drum.
With that experience in mind, I headed back over the road I’d just taken, falling in behind Bubba. I used my four-way flashers to warn drivers coming from behind our low speed procession not to run into us. I assumed we would travel a great deal slower than the speed limit. After all, the trailer hadn’t been on the road for a number of years. Brakes, brake lights, and turn signals weren’t working. When I assume things, I often get an abrupt education.
Bubba, or the tow-boy Mario Andretti, had a different plan, or maybe no plan, in either case I couldn’t legally keep up with him, without speeding, as he pulled the trailer. I shut off my four-ways. There was no sense calling attention to our high-speed convoy. I could imagine being stopped by the police and trying to explain that the reason I was speeding was because I was trying to catch up to a 34 year old camper being towed by a retired academic-want-to-be-race-driver.
The brakes and lights are fixed on Bubba’s camper. If you see a mid 70’s vintage RV with orange curtains rolling down the road, you might want to stay out of his way.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lackey Business

I've been getting right into my chores as a lackey. On the small chance that we will be called it to replace someone who drops out of the Premier show coming up this next weekend I have been painting and cleaning our displays and booth. I repaint and repair displays every fall but usually I have an abundance of time to do it it. With a deadline so close I have to hurry, but it is good unlike the rest of the time I will be ahead of the game.
He have applied for some Sugarloaf shows. We have mixed feelings about getting into different shows, if you get in, does it mean it isn't a very good show? If you don't get in does it mean it is a really good show and you won't get a chance to vend there and you should strive harder to get in the next time?
I know, making the right choice shouldn't be so painful