M is for Monte Carlo

MI CAN’T DRIVE 55 – A Love Affair with My Monte Carlo©

My first car: a ’71 Monte Carlo. A 350 4-barrel dual exhaust blue beauty that could do zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds. Always washed and waxed, the wheels shined and the black hard-top glistened. The neighborhood cop dubbed me “the Blue Streak.” He told me once that he could always hear me coming (who couldn’t?) but just as he’d look up, he’d catch only a glimpse of sky-blue as I sped past and never quite managed to stop for the stop sign at the end of his street.

1971 Monte Carlo120-watt Jensen speakers blasted shades of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult. Iconic tunes blended with the haze of purple microdot, orange sunshine or the rainbow-color blotter of the day, accented of course by the sweet aroma of Colombian Gold.

rolling papers - E-Z Wider 1-1/2

A pack of EZ Widers rolling papers was always strategically wedged under the 8-track cartridge. It was the burnouts’ solution to control the ‘waah-waah’ drag of overplayed warped tape.

 

Nestled in the crook of the ashtray would be my favorite head-shop find: the Jimmy Carter roach clip. Our political declarations – or lack of them – spoke volumes as we passed around “Mr. Jimmy,” as he fondly became known… that presidential roach clip with a handily crafted resin peanut on the end, and liberally carved into it those famous Jimmy Carter lips and toothy grin.

With carefree spirits we’d cruise to various neighborhoods, making the rounds to support our friends and their garage bands.

We’d bar-hop nightly, jumping across county lines to catch the latest last-call. And we’d always make a final stop for breakfast at Sambo’s or Denny’s before rolling home at dawn.

The summer days were spent moving from party to party at Oppenheim Park: sitting atop weathered picnic tables, passing joints and vintage Power Hittersharing bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 MD 20/20 Pure Grape Wine  (how  ever did we drink that stuff??) while cases of Labatt’s Blue and six-packs of Miller ponies sat icing in the back of someone’s van.

We’d pass the cold months sitting parked in some dark lot, bundled up and huddled, with the Chevy’s heat blasting to assuage the bitter sub-zero temperatures of Buffalo winters. We’d trip and we’d smoke and we’d drink while we laughed and played and flirted and philosophized, listening to tracks of The Guess Who, Van Halen, AC/DC and Aerosmith.

And on those rare days when I wanted to be alone, my Monte Carlo satisfied my introspection. She and I would take to the wide open highway, barreling along aimlessly. Or we’d wind through back country roads, a joint in hand Vintage roach stone - marijuana leafand a chilled bottle of wine tucked in between the seats, usually not knowing quite where we’d end up…just content to be rolling.

Well, the seasons, they turned into years, and the years into decades and my Monte Carlo is long gone. But that car lives on forever in my heart. She was an extension of me, part of my identity really, somehow inextricably linked to my very soul. No doubt when friends look back on days gone by and happen to think of me, my Monte Carlo will spring to mind as well because, after all, she was so much a part of me. How I miss that car!

Tell me about your first car: Did you love it? Hate it? What memories does it hold for you?

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 Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.

L is for Limerick

LLimerick defined: a humorous rhyming poem of five lines. More specifically, Lines one, two and five should have between seven and ten syllables and rhyme with each other. Lines three and four should have between five and seven syllables and rhyme with each other.

The origin of the term is obscure, but a group of poets in County Limerick, Ireland, wrote limericks in Irish in the 18th century. The first collections in English date from c. 1820. Among the most famous are those in Edward Lear‘s Book of Nonsense (1846).

Here’s my feeble attempt at a limerick. Since I used to own a bar I thought I’d try one that might reflect a typical day there. Almost successful, but I went over by ONE syllable. It made me crazy and I finally gave up. I’ll call this “Limerick Plus One”  shamrock: dark green with lime highlight

There once was a woman who owned a bar

Patrons would come from near and far

Inside for jokes, out for tokes

Add beer for brawls and crazy folks.

Kapow! Thwack! Now that’s going to leave a scar.

So yeah, limericks? Ain’t my thang…

How about you? Give it a shot and share your limericks here in the comment section!

shamrock: dark green with lime highlight

 

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.

C is for Concerts

C

A friend of mine posted this cartoon on his Facebook page a while back and it really resonated with me. I think it might very accurately foreshadow days to come.  cartoon of old men arguing about how the best rock band is

This cartoon also took me down a long and winding road of memories. Memories of all of the concerts I attended back in the day. Some more hazy than others. Back in the day when Bad Company was headlining and Kansas was the opening band and my ticket to the show cost $6. All the way back to the days when I was so young that parents had to drop us kids off to see Peter Frampton and Rick Derringer. Back in the day when everyone was so generous with their weed and there was a constant flow of joints being passed down the rows. I told someone not long ago that I had seen Steppenwolf…and immediately thought, “Steppenwolf? Holy shit, I’m old!” Old enough that when I saw this superstar line-up of George Thorogood, Loverboy, Journey and the Rolling Stones together the ticket price was only $15!!

Rolling Stones stub cropped

That was one crazy concert with a really cr-aazy crowd. It was held at Orchard Park’s Rich Stadium, former home of the Buffalo Bills. Orchard Park was never quite the same after that show. First of all, there were a zillion people standing in line and for some reason the stadium folks just would not open the gates. We stood out there forever. Everyone was starting to get antsy and irritated and we all stood around bitching until a few unruly and angry folks decided to bust through the fence. Well, you can imagine what happened next. First one panel of fence was down and a few people squeezed through. Then another panel started going down, and another, and another and suddenly it became a tsunami of people rushing and crawling over trampled fencing. But alas, we were in.

We found our seats and were excited as we settled in, waiting for the first band to come out. It started to rain. It wasn’t bad at first, just a little shower, but then the sky opened up and dumped buckets of cold rain upon us. People were covering up with tarps and whatever else we could find. But the show went on. It poured like a motherfucker the whole time, all through George Thorogood’s performance, all through Loverboy’s, through Journey’s. But what happened next was so mind-blowing …well, maybe moreso because we were all stoned… but even to this day I tingle when I think about it. It’s still pouring, pouring, pouring, I’m talkin’ practically torrential, when Mick Jagger runs out on stage and, I’m not kidding, this truly happened simultaneously, as soon as he reached the mike, the rain. just. stopped. The sun burst out and we were suddenly sitting under blue skies. And for a few moments, everyone stopped and the entire stadium took a collective breath of disbelief. What timing! It was crazy.

(I actually found the Stones’ set list for that concert. You can check it out here.)

And then there was the time at the Black Sabbath/Blue Oyster Cult concert –the Black & Blue tour they called it — when Blue Oyster Cult started to play “E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence),” one of their songs that didn’t get a lot of radio play but happened to be my favorite song on their album, and I shot up out of my seat, arm up over my head, fist pump and a scream Yeeah! And for what seemed like a really long minute, I was the only one standing in the entire convention center because I knew the song from the squeak of the first note while it took the rest of the people a few notes before they figured out what song it was. It was a weird moment, but a cool one.

I had gone to this concert with my friend Chris, one of the funniest guys you’d ever meet, who could keep me laughing for hours. Like the time we were trippin’ and walking around his neighborhood: well, not quite AROUND his neighborhood. We’d walk a few steps and then stop because we were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe let alone walk; we were out in the street, laughing hysterically for nearly two hours and the farthest we got from his house was three houses down the road, probably in all a total of 180 feet. Anyway, that’s another story. So here we are back at the Black & Blue concert in the Niagara Falls Convention Center and don’t ya know we ended up getting stuck in the middle of what looked like a never-ending row of seats. It wasn’t like that when we sat down. We had great floor seats, 9th row from the stage, dead center. Of course the middle section was flanked by two other sections, one on the right, one on the left (duh!) with walkways separating the three sections. Well, sometime during Blue Oyster Cult’s set, people had moved up to get closer and their chairs filled both walkways. So when the lights went up for intermission, we got up so we could go use the lavatories but stopped short when we saw the row configuration had changed. We looked in both directions and then at each other and both of us, in unison, said, “Nah. We can wait.” We psyched ourselves into believing that we didn’t have to pee THAT bad when really we were just too high to try to navigate through and over the sea of people.

“And then there was this time at the ZZ Top concert…”

“And OMG, at the Aerosmith concert…”

“And here’s what happened at the Supertramp show…”

“Plus the time we were at the Who concert in DC…”

“And then there was this time at the Doobie Brothers and Outlaws concert…”

And on and on I could go. So yeah, I can totally relate to this cartoon. I can fully see myself sitting around with a bunch of old men boasting about how many concerts we’d been to, who had the best seats, who had front row seats, who had the best weed, and all the crazy shenanigans we reveled in back in the day.

I ought to start making my list now before my mid-life memory starts to fade. Thankfully I have a drawer full of concert ticket stubs to help me out if I hit a snag…

Let me hear some of your concert memories! Let’s trip down memory lane together here in the comment section… 

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.