Strange viewpoint from a 50something

Posts tagged ‘driving’

One question after another, part 3

25 questions continued…

To start this post from the beginning, go here…

To the second 5 questions, go here…

11. The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child. Keep the power of play in your life. And then play some more. Never stop playing. Growing up is not what you believe it to be. And when you do grow up… never stop playing.

12. The unlikely interest that grabs your curiosity. True crime stories, and it began with murder mysteries. My Mom was a big reader of the mysteries… so I started with all her hand me downs. Mostly Agatha Christie and Earl Stanley Gardner. When all that craziness was going on on the west coast with Charles Manson and his crew, in 1969, I was just wetting my appetite for true crime novels… then a few years later out came “Helter Skelter”, by Vincent Bugliosi. Wow. After that, I found “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote. And it was on… throughout the years I have devoured whatever true crime books I could find. It simple amazes me, and it frightens and saddens me, what one human will do to another.

13. The treasured item you lost and wish you had again.  The year I was 16, after half of my hair was yanked off my head by a press pulley. That summer I went to work with my Dad, who was a printer. I leaned back in the chair I was sitting in and a printing press pulley caught my hair and instead of turning the press off and unraveling my hair, the pulley began pushing into my skull so I was yanked away from the machine. The shock to my skin/hair roots was so dramatic that it took close to a year before any hair began to grow. Remembering that I was 16 at the time of this incident, it was such a game changer for me… I was NOT like other girls. I was half bald. What guy was attracted to me? Good grief. Hats, scarves and constant comb over hairdos…. this is why I HATE hats of any kind!!

14. The unending quest that drives you on. Life itself. As I age, time seems to be moving faster. So each birthday I pass is a much sweeter celebration since there are so many who left us much too soon.

15. The poem that touches your soul. Corny as it sounds, I have two favorites and they both involve baseball. Who’s On First. Which was a skit done by Abbott and Costello. And ‘Casey at the Bat’ by Ernest Thayer. (I am a huge baseball fan, a bleed-red St Louis Cardinals fan for life!) The ‘Who’s on First’ skit I’ve seen many times and it’s funny!! I think I even tried to memorize it back then! But Casey at the Bat, that was real to me. As I was a ball player growing up I felt every moment of this poem ~ as I struck out many times in my own little Mudville.


One question after another, part 2

25 Questions continued…….



6. What one thing would you do if you were invisible for a day. I would spend the entire day walking the halls of the Smithsonian Museums. Being invisible would afford me the freedom to get up close to history – past the velvet ropes and those rundown old security guards. I would love to breathe in the aura of some the our worlds greatest treasures. To see those inventions that inspired someone to make a better world, or some fantastic artifacts brought back from every corner of our world and galaxy. Would I touch the hem of one of the dresses worn in the movie Gone With the Wind?? Yes, I would, but ever so gently. To see wonderous works of art, beautiful paintings and sculptures, made by the hands of other humans no better than I am. I would be a sponge absorbing as much of all this wonder that I could. But I’d need a map… I’ve been told I couldn’t see everything in a day!!

7. The pet peeve that makes your hackles rise. Stupid drivers who drive against the arrows in parking lots while giving you the evil eye because you are in their way. Arrghh!! #$@%*!! Don’t get me started…..

8. The film you can watch time and time again. The Shawshank Redemption. It stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. (Before this became a movie I had already read the book, which was written by Stephan King! It was so out of genre for him, as it’s about humans and how they react to pressure, instead of spooks or aliens.) A story of great courage and faith in a world of complacency, greed and hopelessness. Where some gave up, our main character held on. Wrongfully convicted of killing his wife, he goes to prison where he is violated and abused beyond what normal people can take. The lesson? Hope. Never give up hope. Best line of the movie… Tim Robbin’s character ‘Andy’ is talking to Morgan Freeman’s character ‘Red’, after explaining all the money laundering he is doing for the warden, Andy states, “I had to come to prison to become a criminal!”

9. The person who influenced you most. Ruth Lewis. Ruth and I worked together as PBX operators for Ramada Inn. This was indeed the old phone switchboards like on Green Acres that you pulled cords and pushed into holes to connect calls. (Wow. That in itself is quite a memory….) At that time I was just 18 and Ruth was in her late 60’s. She was a happy lively gal who always had a smile on her face. If you asked how she was doing she would remark, “Just Peachy!” Her upbeat philosophy was so contagious that just being close to her you felt better. I was lucky enough to get to know Ruth. Always with a joke or some funny tidbit that happened in her daily travels. She had a worn deck of tarot cards that she kept her her purse. She’s get those cards out and shuffling away, with a little glint in her eye she’d say…. “Are ya ready?” Hahaaha! She told my fortune everyday I saw her…. with a few differences most of them said the same thing…. I would live a long life, I would find a wonderful man. I would travel. I would… I would…  I would. The laughter that she and those cards provoked were epic!! After I left that job I stayed in touch with her for a few years. Sadly, I lost track of her. I would guess she may have died by now. But then again, she might still be kicking somewhere! My understanding of this friendship is becoming clear. She was the precursor to what kind of person I would like to become. She used to tell me that in the end… nothing matters more than continuing to breathe. I get it now. Live while you’re alive. Laugh and laugh some more. Enjoy your life and remember that the only thing you cannot recover from is…. death.

10. The figure from history that you’d most like to share a meal and a drink. Audie Murphy and Alice Huyler Ramsey. I couldn’t choose just one.

Audie Murphy (1925-1971) I first came to know about him because he was an actor. I saw him in a lot of westerns that played on television all day long on Saturdays when I was a kid. But the film that I loved him in the most was a war movie called “To Hell and Back”. It was years later that I found out that the movie was about him and he was playing himself! This man is one of the most Decorated Veterans of our history! He died at age 45 in a plane crash. And in his short life, not only is his service to our country incredible, but he was a early champion of PTSD which was then known as battle fatigue or shell shock. As he himself was a sufferer. I thought then, and still think today, that he was one of the most attractive men I have ever seen. Yes, let me clink glasses with this man and Thank him for his service. *sigh*

Audie L Murphy


“Good driving has nothing to do with sex. It’s all above the collar.”

Alice Huyler Ramsey (1886-1983) Thank you Mrs. Ramsey!! She was the first woman to drive from New York to California in 1909. 3,600 miles and only 152 of those miles were paved! The trip took 59 days. It was the first real road trip for girls! (She was joined by 2 of her sister-in-laws and a girl friend, and not one of them could drive!) One thing to remember here is, not only was a woman driver frowned upon at that time, but this was waaaaay before roads became the interstate system we are spoiled with today! She changed her own tires and cleaned her own spark plugs! I’ve read a couple of stories about this adventure… sounds like something I would have loved to do! She was honored as “Woman Motorist of the Century” in 1960 by AAA. I think her and I would have been buddies. Go Alice!

Alice Huyler Ramsey

(#singingoutloud) “I am a-live….. with the sound of mu-sic”..

Since fighting my way out of that standstill funk, I have been on the run!! I am excited again about the prospect of each day… I am back to wanting to meet life with full force. And part of my getting back to life was music. That which swirls through my veins in complete unison with my blood. I’ve discovered that it is as important to the running of my body, as any other function that keeps me going.

When I was going back and forth to St Louis, during my Mom’s issues, I didn’t pay much attention to the music. It was on… but only as background noise. With each drive, the same tunes… the same feelings… the same nothing. With all that was happening to my Mom, I felt I would be betraying her in some way if I were feeling too good. After she died, I temporarily lost interest. The music played but I wasn’t involved.

Last week, I spent a couple hours erasing and loading my ipod. As I added song after song, I felt the excitement growing. (There is something very powerful about anticipation!) Music is magical to me. No matter what my mood may be… I have a song to match it. Let me add, too, that it is such a personal thing… matching mood to music. Some of the saddest songs I favor make me feel the best!

This particular list was comprised of some of the best sing-along-mood-lifting-gear-shifting-head-bopping-steeringwheel-banging music I own. Getting myself in my little blue car… hooking up the ipod, adjusting my tail in the drivers seat, easing the clutch pedal out….. and I am on my way! I turn the volume up and the shifting and singing begin!! I can not and do not sing for anyone but me. I don’t kareoke. I don’t break out in song at random in front of people. At home alone, or in my car…. I can belt ’em out! The physical act of singing.. gosh, I don’t know if I can explain it, but it feels so good!! The euphoria that comes over me! The pulse of the music is thumping from the trunk and it awakens my body- making my skin tingle! I sing along with the words ~ and I feel awake and alive!! 

Nothing compares to the sizzling of all my senses when I am flying down the road, singing songs that create these fabulous endorphins!! The sight of me must be something! I just hope the one thing people think to themselves, when they see me in this state, is that I must be having fun. Because being alive… it does feel so good!! 


Repost of “Time to Accessorize”


        Style. We all have our own. Each feeling comfortable with our special quirk. I’ve always admired those who can rock the latest trends. And in each decade I’ve lived, I have seen some interesting trends!! Even went through a few myself! (Hip hugger jeans in the 70’s!!  Leg warmers in the 80’s!!)
But personal style in nothing without accessories. Hats, earrings, handbags, belts, shoes, boots… the list is endless. Each of us has that one item that once we’ve got it on, the attitude changes and we walk a little taller! I’ve never been much of a clothes horse, I am the most comfortable in jeans, t-shirt and a great pair of broken-in Reeboks. It’s my accessory that makes me.
I have one friend with a bracelet fetish, another a collector of handbags, and one who loves boots. But me? My favorite accessory? My car. Yep, I said it. My car. There is nothing like it. Climbing behind the wheel, adjusting every thing just so… pushing the clutch pedal in, gliding the shifter into 1st gear, aahhh… for me, that’s heaven. I just love to drive. Let me say that again… I just love to drive!!
I have always had a thing for cars. Every car I’ve owned in my driving career, no matter what shape the poor thing was in, I tried to fix, cover, or disguise.. I’d wash, wax and shine to make it look it’s best. Once that was achieved, I’d sit a little taller, my disposition more self assured and I’d feel fantastic!!
Oh, I’ve felt the sting of finding one of my favorite sweaters in the dryer – now 3 sizes smaller than me! Another sting of one missing (and still lost!) diamond earring! The loss of that favorite item, whatever it may be, is painful. (Damn! I looked great in that!!) Oh… Ouch!! Stung again!! Only this time it’s my FAVORITE accessory!!
A few days before Thanksgiving, on my way to work in the pouring rain, I caught a patch of standing water in the road and it spun my little blue car around in circles and then crashed into the guard rail. Many blessings were counted – I was not hurt – no other cars or people involved – no property damaged. Whew!! Poor little thing took a hard hit though and has been parked in our driveway since, awaiting judgement as to whether or not it can be fixed. Another blessing is that I do own another vehicle, so I was not without a car. Things changed though… car #2 is now down for the count. Fixable? Yes, but very, very costly.
I am now driving one of Del’s cars. I am not complaining, as it is a way to get from point A to point B. It’s just that I am not myself in this vehicle. It’s a hoopty. Just typing that word depresses me. A black car with a white hood and one white fender. Ok, imagine that beautiful leather coat you love to wear, because it just wears you so well. It’s gone. Now imagine another black coat but someone has ripped the collar and one sleeve off of it and replaced it with dirty white corduroy… are you with me? Let’s just say… I DON’T WANNA WEAR THIS COAT  DRIVE THIS CAR!!!
Umm, sorry, but it goes beyond just looking hoopty! To get out of said vehicle, you have to roll the window down to open door from outside as it has no inside door handle. When it rains it drips on your left leg. The dashboard has a huge void where a radio once resided. Now a big gaping hole with wires dangling. (Anyone who knows me knows that music is a BIG DEAL with me….. smh). But the kicker of this hoopty (as if these few things were not enough) is I must lift the hood and touch a wire to the positive post on the battery to start it!!!! Arrggg!!! Really??
I am not, in any way, under valuing the fact that I have a car to drive. I realize there are many that do not have the luxury of having multiple cars to use. For this I am very grateful. But my vanity is suffering!!
Ok, I’ve come to the conclusion it is time for a new coat… er, car. Not necessarily a new one… just one that is new to me. The hunt has begun. It’s sorta like contemplating a new hair style. Hmm.. wonder what the future has in store?

I find my soul when rubber meets the concrete…

My hoopty vacation has come to a close. There was just something sad about that long drive home. Don’t get me wrong… it’s not the driving! As you well know that is my thing… but the return to real life, after a few days on the beach?? I won’t be right for a while!
I held out hope that I would finally drive my little blue Baby. Del has her as fixed as she going to get right now. And she was ready just a few days before my trip!! Much discussion later, we decided I would be better off driving ‘hoopty’ because at least it is reliable. After the left hook little blue took from that guardrail, driving locally for a time is highly recommended. Oh the crush to my vanity!! Even if ‘Baby’ does have major crash/scratch/dent issues down one side… oh how I want to run the roads with her again!!! (It won’t be long… I’ll soon be back in her driver’s seat that fits my tail so well, my hand on the shifter, my feet poised over those pedals on the floor!!  omg I misssssss her!!! =)! )
Resigned to driving the hoopty, it really was an awesome trip. Something I had looked forward to for quite awhile. And I need that… the anticipation of something. The minute I hit the road heading south, I felt the stress wash right off of me. The freedom of choosing whatever route I want to go… ahhh! My destination this trip was Sunny Florida, but the adventure was in getting there. The things I get to see — those things that peak my interest enough for me to get off the beaten track to investigate. That’s what it’s about. You don’t know if any given exit holds a moment that will effect your attitude. That chance encounter with someone who will do or say something that might change you for the rest of your life! An action, a smile or a wave, or maybe a genuinely sincere hello from a stranger. I think the main thing is to be open to those possiblities! I drove roads I’ve never driven and on those well run roads – I ventured off on exits I’d only passed by before.
I love driving, just going from here to there. Highway driving is a favorite. If I had done things different when I was younger I might have been a truck driver. Those rigs that scream the highways with me, I have so much envy and respect for them. Most folks just see them as a roadway hazard, them big ole things clogging up the highways. But they are what moves America!! It is a remarkable industry, and has a huge family called ‘truckers’ that keep it alive! These 18 wheeled beasts carry everything from A to Z!  Most people have no idea of the mass that those trucks have.. cutting them off with no regard for the consequences. Little do folks realize, but these big rigs are driven by people like you and I, small humans compared to the trucks they drive. Huge mass with moving momentum is not easy to stop in an instant! And as good a driver as they might be, it takes so much more to stop one!! My advice to any who share the roads with them, they are NOT road bullies, they are just BIG travelers!! So make some room!! A fantastic community of men and women who will watch out for you if you show them the respect they deserve. And, of course, I can draft them! I have only drafted a few who didn’t like me doing that.. but most of them don’t seem to mind. I just had my longest draft run ever, behind a Peterbuilt up I-75, I was in his draft for 92 miles!! I wonder what he was thinking as he watched me in his mirrors??  When I changed interstates I honked a big thank you and he flickered his lights!! Now that is some highway communication!!! He was AweSome!!
As I rolled the roads, thoughts flowed easy as I passed mile marker after mile marker. I am at my calmest behind the wheel. The only thing missing this trip was my car stereo. (Hoopty has a vacant spot where radio should be) I had only my ipod with those damned earbuds. (Which after a couple hours become uncomfortably annoying) I channeled my inner little girl as I let the music enter my ears and leave through my voice. As I schreeched sang each song, I was flooded with memories both good and bad. It’s amazing how far I have come, all the lives I’ve lived. All the people I have known. And just where would I like to go?? Who the hell knows! Doesn’t matter though because it ends at the same place we will all face called death. But damned if I’m not do some serious shifting and skid in screaming ~ Hell Yeah!! =D

I get it.

I went on a road trip to St Louis recently. I rode with my Alabama Bestie who was going to a family get together. Her dads family is from the area. Her husband happen to mention it one night and of course I blurted out… ‘Can I go???” I looked forward to this trip for multiple reasons.. the main being I would get to see my Mom. As her health is failing any opportunity to get to St Louis is top priority!! Getting to spend time with my friend was another benefit!
The only thing I had issues with was all those miles and I didn’t drive. Oh… that was sooooo haaarrrrd… but! She can drive too! (Yay!!) The ride was mostly uneventful and as I rode along the same route I take when I am at the wheel, I saw things I don’t normally notice. Little things, seen flying by through the windows. Eyes focused on the art of driving and these wonders go unseen.
As she drove and I rode, I was able to spy on all the other drivers. And I did me some looking! When I am driving the only thing I notice about those who are out on the roads are what vehicles they drive. I still pride myself on recognizing most makes and models of cars. I don’t notice the occupants much (unless they have just acted a fool which requires me to visually voice my opinion on their stupidity! I do make it a point to initiate eye contact to be sure my ‘voice’ was heard).
I saw people of every race, sex and age. I saw people sitting solitarily or mini vans stuffed to the gills with kids, animals and general stuff. As I looked into a split second of their worlds, it’s the people that caught my interest. And as I am a girl, I really looked at the men. How funny, just glancing for what?, a few seconds at the most?, I can decide whether he would be my type. Young, old, bald, hairy, big, small, light, dark… oh my gosh… if they look good… I like them all!! But I find I am drawn to a certain age group. Between 15 to 20 years younger than where I am. That’s not a bad gap (…. well unless I was 30, then that would be creepy…)
It occurred to me that I was man-watching in the age group I most identify with. Even though I grow older physically, I have rested my mind in my late 30’s early 40’s. I truly believe that your mind stays young – always. So as I had this thought, I suddenly realized that the syndrome of the older man younger woman is just him reflecting his inner age.

What an epiphany!!

All the years I spent thinking of these dirty old men running around with young girls… ewww so nasty! Then in recent times more and more older woman running around with young men… ewww……. well.
Sometimes it takes a minute to get stuff. I found myself peering into all these lives as we flew past on the way to our destination, and I finally got it. It isn’t at all what I envisioned it being. I understand. You do not intentionally go hunting someone younger. Our outsides become older. But not the insides. In the mind we remain our younger selves. The calendar that hangs on my wall says I will be 55 on my next birthday… but my mind does not follow that calendar. My mind doesn’t follow any calendar. My mind is still at the beginning. As I learn more things I become more knowledgeable – yes – but that doesn’t make me old!! So because I think as a young woman I forget the calendar and the age of my body. I think with the young mind that I still possess. I find myself more attracted to those who still have a love for life and the daring to live it.
I told my Mom about having these thoughts and she really floored me when she explained similar feelings. At 77 her body is in it’s last days.. but her mind is still sharp as a tack. She told me she also doesn’t “think” her age. I had to ask, “what’s your thinking age”? She replied… “in my 50’s”!! How strange!!
And so because of becoming enlightened to my current state of mind, my only thought is… I never wanna grow up!