Sunday, June 12, 2016

Car Eddies

When I was a young guy there were a few of my friends who were "Car Eddies".  They were constantly tearing apart cars and fixing them up.  They knew the difference between carburettors and crankshafts.  At the local high school, these dudes were the Fonz before he was invented.  They lowered their rods, "frenched" their fenders and "bobbed"  their buckets...these guys were the coolest, and they always seemed to have the cutest girlfriends.

Well, I wasn't exactly a stupid guy, back then, and I soon figured out that a there was a better chance for a girlfriend if I had a cool car.  Between two or three paper routes and a very lucrative garbage collection business, I was soon able to purchase my first car.  I forget how much I paid for that Austin A40, and it certainly wasn't the '49 Ford that I lusted after, but it did provide that freedom and independence that I yearned for.    I soon found out, after my first fender-bender, that while I fancied myself as a mechanic, a Car Eddie I was not.  It took me two weeks to figure out how to get the fender off that old car, and twice as long to get it hammered out and painted.   Over time I realized that my skills as a mechanic were limited to the fantasies from car magazines which I devoured, and not necessarily from any native understanding or ability to diagnose the finer points of a four-banger.

To this day, I fight those memories of a less than stellar experience in the family garage as tools did not fit nuts, and cars and motorcycles remained broken much longer than they should have, if I were a real Car Eddie.  I still buy too many tools, and sometimes tackle issues which should be left to the experts, hoping to gain that status lost in the fog of youthful fantasies.

So the sight of a "Car Show" sign on the outskirts of Williams' Lake brought me back from my reverie about high school girl friends and I knew it was time for a break from the road heading to Alaska.

Sure ennough, I came upon a great collection of cars and people who were the Car Eddies of today, albeit somewhat plumper and mostly grayer.  I recognized the glint in the guys eyes as they glossed over the chopped and channeled rods, and listened to the roar of a 427 blasting down the street.  For a little while as I wandered the streets of Williams' Lake, I had regained that youthful dream of being a Car Eddy.

To make my fantasy complete,  I found the girl that I had eluded me  from fifty years ago.  Although somewhat older and a little more worn about the edges, there she was, dyed brunette hair bouffed out and the proud owner of not one, but two 57 Chevies.  We chatted and did the boy-girl thing...both of us in our late 60's and me in my dirty riding pants and scruffy boots.  My high school fantasy was alive and well, and living somewhere in the central Interior,  with two beautiful Chevies and some mop-eared lap dog.  For a brief time, both of us were back to the days of the Dip, the rides to Kelowna and  the A&W, and the even faster rides through the back lanes and roads where the cops did not go...

After I returned to the bike, the ADV bird which sits on my shoulder said: "If you didn't take a picture, it didn't happen."  Well, you will just have to take my word for it, that she is out there, cruising in her beautiful black and white 57 Chevy, while I sit waiting for parts and relearning the lesson about patience.

For those Car Eddies who are true wrenchers and their respective girls who did hang with their guys,  the following photos are a tribute to a time gone by, when we were all a bit more innocent.

This is for you, Nick A. (Car Eddie extraordinaire)

So that is my story, and I am sticking to it.