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02 November, 2015

The Funniest Squirrel Story You Ever Heard!

                        Laugh as I tell you how Fate meted out a surprise for my annoying Mom one day.    There is a day that I shared with my Dad that stands out as one of the funniest, most rewarding and sensational days of my early life.  

                    It was the day that the squirrels got even for both of us.

                  My Mom was not afraid of feeding squirrels.  The photo here shows her boldness.  Like me, if it had fur she'd try to feed it. (Unless it was a big dog.)
Mom feeding her squirrel friends in Alabama
              My dad would not let ME feed squirrels, though.  He told horror stories about VA Hospital patients who had lost fingers.  Supposedly, if one of those near-sighted nasties bit you, the deep teeth would inoculate your finger with the plague.  The wound would close up immediately, sealing your fate.  Tales of amputated fingers as a result of squirrel bites haunted my sleep.
                           Still it was hard to resist feeding them from a distance.

                  I love squirrels and so did Dad.  He kept his distance, though.  Feeding the local buggers finally resulted in early morning encounters with them clinging to the door screen, waiting for him to open it and toss bread.  It was nothing unusual to open the main kitchen door and find at least one squirrel at eye level, hanging on, waiting for a handout.

                One time Dad put peanut butter on some stale bread and tossed it out.  One little squirrel, way smaller than the others, grabbed that piece and tried to run up a tree. 

                The toast was so much bigger and heavier than he anticipated.  Slowly, the bread started peeling the squirrel off the tree.  Next thing we knew, the little squirrel and the toast were blended in a whirling blur on the ground.  

                 Covered in peanut butter, the poor victim was chased from branch to branch by the other squirrels, while his compatriots ate HIS piece of bread on the ground. 

                  One squirrel up in the tree, caught him, held him down and totally mortified his squirrel dignity by licking him clean.  (probably his mother.) He was completely humiliated and screeched afterward for a good half hour from a higher branch.  The others ignored him.

                  Sometimes the blue jays would boldly attack a squirrel that dared to sit and eat his trophy snack within reach.  The pesky blue jays dived, pecked, and squawked! Often the offended squirrel gave up his food to the aggressive jays. 

                     It was fun to watch the battle.  You always knew when a jay had won food away from a squirrel.  

                     The air would vibrate with the hoarse squirrel “barks”, mews and drawn-out caustic scolding, from a safe branch above the scene of the attack.  I’ve witnessed a squirrel keep up his complaint for a whole hour, while the jays feasted on HIS prize below. Nothing gets pissed like a hungry squirrel that’s lost his treasure.  My Mom was like that sometimes.  

                   One day the squirrels got the best of HER.  Here starts what I think you will agree, is the funniest squirrel story ever!

                   I hated traveling with my parents in the car.  Especially on a long trip.  One long day of driving with Mom from NC on our trip to Florida was hideously unbearable.  We went every year for our annual sea water-snorting (as prescribed by our Ear, Nose and Throat doctor for sinus problems in the family).   We drove all day in the oven heat of summer, no air conditioning in the car, hot, sticky and boring.  
                   Mother had been sucking on her front teeth making this hideous sound constantly.  It was somewhere between a low whistle and a gross wet noise.  She did it on purpose, too.

                    Dad had been bothered by it for hours.  He’d clinch the steering wheel harder, and look over at her, glaring.   (She would ignore him.)  He repeated this, over the long, sultry day, so many times I thought his neck would wring off.   She just kept on sucking on her teeth, staring straight ahead.  He just kept glaring over at her.
Our 50s Buick was just like this one.
                                 I about felt like killing them both!
                      Sitting in the back seat of our Buick, I witnessed the whole debacle.  For HOURS … and HOURS …  I know how that little squirrel felt.  I was MAD, embarrassed that two ADULTS would behave like that.

                   My parents, who were married 44 years in their lifetime,  played this "travel bathroom game” and it wasn’t funny.  Mom had a small bladder, a weak one.  She wanted to stop often (like every half hour) and nagged him constantly.  Dad would deliberately drive PAST filling stations just to annoy the crap out of her.  He knew if we stopped, not only would she take ages in the bathroom, but it would cost him dearly.  

                   Mom was not going to leave without a Coke and some peanuts.  That generated more pee naturally.  It cost money and of course, I had to have something too.  The delays made the trip even more miserable.

                  So it was a battle, a silent one, except for Mom’s REALLY obnoxious sucking noise.  Mom could be a pain and she was sure being one this time.  So was Dad.  He was being a complete butt.

I love this picture of the two of them. This happened a LOT!
                  Finally, her insistence that she HAD to pee and her sucking her teeth without let up was his Waterloo.  He flat gave up.  We stopped at a tourist trap, Silver Springs Park, Florida. 

                 One really long bathroom trip later, a raid on the gift shop for treats, and Mom was happy.  I remember she was wearing her long hair wound up around her head, and a halter top.  Her shorts completed the summer attire; it was very muggy in Florida that time of year, but she was dressed for it.  She had as little skin covered as she could get away with to stay cool.

My dad earlier in the 40s. He laughed a lot in those days.

One of the glass-bottom boats at Silver Springs Resort where we stopped.
                  Dad and I stood, leaning against the car, tired of all the sitting in it for hours.  Tired of this long trip....                     

                                 Tired of my very annoying mother. 

                    I’d gone pee, had a snack, and was just looking at the scene around us.  We gazed lazily at the other tourists, getting ready to board the glass bottom boats at Silver Springs docks.  Kids were running all over, being kids.  There were a lot of people milling around.  Mom just sat in peace under the Cypress tree.  We wanted to get going again and she was holding us up.

                      Suddenly, Dad elbowed me silently and pointed. He pinched my elbow so hard I almost cried out but he shushed me with his hand.

                      Mom, sitting a few feet away, under a giant cypress tree,  had opened her peanuts and was trying (as was her custom from childhood), to pour her peanuts into her Coke bottle.  (If you have never savored this delicacy, you are missing a treat!)

                       Just above her head, and on the back side of the tree trunk, were squirrels.  Not just one or two, but a dozen at least, and they were BIG!    Lured by the tantalizing smell of her peanuts, they were almost rabid with desire.... for HER treat!

                     So, drawn by the scent of peanuts, stealthily they approached her, totally unnoticed.  One bold fellow hopped up to her on the ground from the front. 
                   Being my squirrel-loving Mom, she tossed him a peanut. Big mistake....

               Another on the grass started towards her, too, from the side.   Behind her head, two more were quietly skittering down the tree … others moved from the back of the trunk around to the front. 

                   We could see what was unfolding and we waited for it...                WAITED.... WAITED........WAITED...

                   Seeing their companion get tossed a nut was just too much for these tree trunk curmudgeons.  BOTH of the GREEDY squirrels on the tree front above her head, LEAPED!  RIGHT INTO HER HAIR!

                   It was timed such that the two on the ground charged her lap.   One who jumped on her head, got caught in her hair! 

                    Simultaneously, the ones on the ground charged up her bare legs!    The others jumped down on her boobs and bare shoulders!     (Imagine how that felt - all those scratchy little squirrel feet, on your exposed skin, your head, your arms, legs, thighs…. It must have been horrendously shocking!) 

                One tried to run right up the leg of her shorts!   Eeeeeeeya!!

                    Mom instantly FREAKED!  She shrieked, becoming a whirling dervish, tossing coke, peanuts and her hands in the air!

                     I think Dad bit his lip so hard it BLED, trying not to laugh out loud.  

               He sure grabbed my arm, pinched me hard so I didn’t yell out a warning.  We watched with something akin to vindication (or GLEE) as Mom instantly became a spinning human top, hysterically screaming!   Her Coke and peanuts scattered in every direction, while she launched herself off the ground, jumping up and grabbing her squirrel-infested hair!  

              That didn’t help, because all the squirrels tried to get DOWN Mom’s body to the food.

                    She became an INSTANT squirrel carpet, a squirrel highway!

                   With all the screeching, jumping around, swatting at squirrels, it’s amazing she didn’t end up with a bad bite, even  Rabies or Tetanus!  

                                            She promptly PEED herself. 

                   She about ripped her hair out, and had turned beet red from head to toe.  The squirrels, apparently practiced in assaulting people for food, grabbed her goodies and vanished into the trees like ghosts. 

                  A very distraught, disheveled Mom stumbled over to us, shaking, totally hysterical.  We just stood there, mouths open, looking (or trying to look), INNOCENT!   

I was such a cute dweeb in those days.

                 We made sympathetic faces and noises, trying not to laugh.  Dad comforted her, got out the luggage so she could change and bought her another Coke and more peanuts. 

                                       Which she ate IN THE CAR.   

                 The squirrels had gotten even for US, for our misery.

                 Well, that was the END of the sucking noises she made.     She gradually calmed down, changed her clothes, re-did her hair and got back in the car, as though nothing ever happened.   

                She never said another word all the way to the motel that night.  It was a peaceful, relaxing drive.

My folks and me a few years after that trip to Florida
                      Dad tried not to smirk or laugh, but YOU know, she KNEW he was laughing inside at her.
                                             We both were, only I wasn’t as cool as Dad.  

                    He hummed all the way to the motel.   And me …. I got a spanking when we got there for grinning way too much. 

                                            WAY TOO MUCH!

01 November, 2015

The Good Old Days...

                     Baby Boomer or not, you will remember fondly growing up with some of these great things.  Rock n Roll, classic cars, and more.  Here also, some riotous funny stories of my nutty parents to spice things up.
Asheville's famous Biltmore Home and Gardens in fall glory.  It's something we are famous for there.

                  Do you remember when the FIRST McDonald's hamburger came out?              
                                      I sure do!

                  The "Golden Arches" opened up on Tunnel Road, among other fast food places, back in the 50's in Asheville, NC.  The tantalizing smell of grilled beef sucked us in like addicts to cocaine.    The fragrance hanging on the air made your mouth water.  You could inhale it miles away.   We flocked to it  (as did everyone)  and gobbled bags of those juicy, thin but CHEAP hamburgers!  The lines of cars trying to get in their parking lot was daunting, but my folks didn't give up.  It was worth every minute, every mile and every penny.

                   Those burgers from ole McDonald's cost only FIFTEEN CENTS EACH in those days. The fries were ten or twelve cents for a small bag, I think.   I do remember when McDonald's prices went up to nineteen cents for a burger.  Still, they were a deal back then. I remember the amazing day when the sign above the Golden Arches said, "One million burgers sold."  Today's signs just say "billions and billions sold".  I wish I'd bought stock back then ...

                  After stuffing our faces, Mom and Dad, being notoriously thrifty souls, got about 30 more hamburgers.  Like pirates with stolen treasure they rushed home.  There, they carefully opened them up, disassembled each burger, let them all cool down ... and FROZE them!

                 When a hamburger hungry streak hit them, Mom would get out her frozen "Mc-eee Dees" treasures and pop them into a warm oven.  (no microwaves in those days. Say, how did I function before microwaves were invented?)  But nothing ever made the fries taste like normal.   So she'd just fry up her own version.   We'd be content, munching them down.  Yeah, those were the days.  Trans FATS!

Blue Ridge Mountains in which I roamed as a kid.
                    Most amazing, was that gasoline was about FIFTEEN CENTS A GALLON in those good old days.   When they had "Gas Wars," the price could drop to 12!  All the stations would compete and prices dropped to rock bottom.  Dad always rushed out to gas up our rigs then.  He had a "woodie" 1940's station wagon and a nice 56' baby blue Buick Road Master.   

                     Gas guzzlers both of them.   He'd take some glass jugs with him and buy extra. With all the jugs lined up in the garage, I think the neighbors thought he was running a still! (That would be moonshine liquor.)

Our Buick or close to it, Yes, the gas guzzler.
                      Looking at prices NOW, I can't imagine how much better the economy was then, than NOW.  Sure won't see prices like that ever again, I bet.   Some really good things just vaporize with the passing years.  Cheap gas was one.   Never going to see prices below $2 again, EVER. 

                     Kind of like your trim waistline when you were young.   Or your smooth unwrinkled face.  Maybe even your once-fat wallet.   Gone.  Poof!   Forever. 

Our "woody" station wagon looked a lot like this one.

                      When I was younger,  I remember being glued to RADIO broadcast comedy and serial radio shows.  You see, they didn't have TELEVISION when I was growing up!   Can you IMAGINE THAT?  No flat screen?  Not even a color TV?  Yup! And not YouTube.   

                        Here's a funny link to Tom Hank's Video spoof of his daughter, a modeling queen. (my mother should wish I was into that! It was her dream for everybody to notice me and tell her how beautiful I was.   NOT happening!) 

                    Is there anybody out there, older than dirt like me who remembers Radio Broadcast shows like the "Jack Benny Show", or "Green Hornet", "The Andy Devine Show" (with Froggy plunking his Magic Twanger, and Buster Brown, too)?    How about "Amos and Andy"?  Are you crusty old enough to remember the "Shadow" and the "George Burns and Gracie Allen" Show?    Oh, weren't those the days?!

Brad back in the 80s in that goose necked rocker I loved.
                     We would gather in our living room each evening, sitting around this huge floor model box of a radio, with a lighted dial on the front.   Dad would tweak the dials until a scratchy radio station would come in.  

                    I'd sit in Mom's rocker sideways and rock back and forth.  (Well, I had to do something, I was probably ADHD in those days.)  It was her mother's goose neck antique rocker and I loved it. 
                    Mom would serve potato chips, pickles and hard boiled eggs.  Dad would nurse a beer.  She'd do some hand mending, or twist her hair with her fingers and stare at me.   (She knew to keep an eye on me.)   Dad would stare at the floor and heave with laughter, as the comedies came on.   

                  He loved Jack Benny.   Sometimes he would shift his feet a lot if the scary plots got thick  - like listening to "The Shadow"  ... "only the Shadow knows..." the radio announcer would say, in a scary, deep voice...  bwaaaaa hooooo....

Our radio looked exactly like this one!
                     He'd always be holding a beer.  He kept it on a saucer on the floor.  His excuse was not to spill it on the carpet.  Dear old Dad had other motives, however....

This was Spot Hinds, my beer-drinking mutt.
                    Sometimes when Mom wasn't looking, he'd slip ole Spot Hinds, our white mutt, a bit of his beer, on that saucer.  Yeah, we had a booze hound for sure.  Spot Hinds would be trembling with excitement, wagging his tail in anticipation, waiting.   Then, when Dad could slip a little to him, he'd lap it up greedily and wait for more.  If a dog could GRIN, that's what he did.  He'd curl up at Dad's feet, totally bombed and snore, LOUDLY.   

                     Then after a few hours, to our dismay, he'd start passing terrible smells.   You know, the green kind that floats along the floor, and would singe your nose hairs... Awful!

                    Mom always KNEW then Dad had been feeding him something he wasn't supposed to.  Especially, hard boiled eggs or BEER!  (Gosh, we ALL could tell with the biohazard that dog was emitting.  It was the kind of stink that was almost green and floated just above the floor, splatting on the walls or us in a puff of horrendous stench.)   

                  She quit serving hard boiled eggs after a while, as a radio-listening treat.  I missed those eggs.  Dad was always slipping that pooch some food under the table, too.  Mom seemed to always catch him though.

                 Radio drama was a treat unmatched to anything today!  Sound effects, even canned laughter, all kinds of stuff: horse hooves clomping, gunshots, whistles, screams, creaking doors.....      

                                      It was like BLIND television.

                   We loved it.  Everybody did.  With NO Internet (not invented),  no TV  (not invented), no computers  (not invented), and no cells, IPods, or any of the electronic goodies (not invented then) ... we just had to find something to entertain ourselves with at the end of a long day.  It was what people did then.

 Don't let that sweet smile fool you. I was a devil!

                     My folks would listen to the radio and laugh a lot.  It really was great, and funny to watch my folks laugh.  

                  They were way too serious. Laughing didn't happen very often.  Not in a normal day.

Mom in one of her butt-chewing-out Dad moods.
                  You would easily recognize these were two very serious, very sober parents of mine,  very well-respected adults in our community, WHEN they were NOT at such a party.  They didn't party often.  I guess they had to let off a little steam once in a while.  That was my take on it -- years later!  Raising me must have required a LOT of steam venting.

                 Going to adult parties was such entertainment as an older kid.  One time a famous TV St. Bernard dog ..   (Yes, by then we had TV.   Do you remember the TV show "Topper"? He was in it.) .. came to one of the parties they attended, brought by his famous owners, professional dog trainers.   (My parents KNEW people.)

                      I remember seeing that mountain of fur swaying, panting with drooling tongue hanging out, waddling towards my end of the room.  There I sat perched next to my parents.   It was amazing to have a DOG to ogle over and pet!  But he was too big for me, and promptly knocked me over to get to the canapes'.  

                    Something about caviar, smoked salmon on crackers, and little hot dogs wrapped in cheese drove that mutt crazy.  The owners and hostess had to keep peeling him off the Hoers d' oeuvres table.  I guess people didn't care for dog-slobbered snack food.  He finally was dragged back to my folk's end of the party room. 

                    It was then he committed the ULTIMATE dog-faux-paux....

                           He kept trying to make love to Mom's leg!! 

That's my Mom - her hair all done up for some occasion.
                    She instantly turned purple, yelled, sputtered and tried to pry the beast off her nylons in vain.   It was horrendous to her to be attacked like that.  (I thought it was hilarious!)   It wasn't until the owners pulled the wretched, excited hound away, that Mom was able to run off to the "ladies room" and recover.  Poor Mom!  The owners finally put the beastie in the spare bedroom where all the guests' coats were stored.  
                                        That was a HUGE mistake.

                    Later we found the furry fiend "loving" Mom's fur coat, on the floor!  Mom had it dry-cleaned and never took it anywhere to a party again.   I inherited that coat and I sold it promptly.  DOGS!!  

                  That was the still the BEST party I ever got to attend as a kid!  Things like that always taught me a lot about grownups and even more about life.   (Big horny dogs and parties don't mix.)

                  Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup and pancake mix... there's another "Oldie" treat I remember from the "Good Old Days".    Wow, that syrup was wonderful, especially on Mom's Aunt Jemima pancakes with real butter.  Mom saved the labels off the bottles and box tops for months, and sent away for a real Aunt Jemima Stuffed Doll for me.  This doll just would not fly today.  

               "Politically incorrect", they'd say today.  Martin Luther King would have been doing "wheelies"  in his grave over that doll if he had seen it.  Well, he wasn't born yet, so Hah!.  

               Well, it was the 50s South and then nobody cared if they offended someone black.  My Jemima doll had a black cotton cloth face, (was dressed like old Southern Slaves), with a head scarf, gold earring loops sewn on the ear scarf where ears would have been,  a ruffled white apron, calico dress and even tiny leather-like boots. The whole doll was cloth, not plastic like today.  I loved that doll!  Barbies move over (not invented just yet).  When they were, I still didn't have one till I was about 57 years old!

Me at the age I played with that horse toy.
                   Back in those days, one of the weirdest toys I remember having was a horse on a little wooden platform with small red wheels and a string to pull by.  You pulled this dumb horse contraption around with the string. The critter had real fur,  a hair mane and a fake saddle.  It looked and felt so much like a real horse, but of course, it was only a foot high.    It was too small to ride and too big to do much with, I thought.  And it was not  a REAL horse.

                    Today that horse would be an antique!  Yeah. Antiques Roadshow here I come! 

                     Leave it to me, though.   I had quite an imagination.  If I didn't have a toy, I created one out of nature.  Sometimes you just have  to improvise.  

                      There were hundreds of oak trees in our neighborhood.  When they had acorns, I'd gather them up by the bagfuls and bring them in the house to play with.  My game was "herding cattle."  Well, so what if I didn't have any pretend cattle figures?  The acorns made nice "herds".   They were brown and round like cows.  Okay, that was a stretch.  What do you expect?  I was six or seven!

                    I'd spend hours scooping them around under furniture on the carpet with my bare hands, "moving my herd".  My older Cousin Bill had "passed down" some plastic horses and cowboys to me.   They were part of that trail scenario.  I used my dominoes to build corrals.  I'd chatter happily to myself.   

                  HEY!  Isn't that supposed to be a sign of insanity?
                 (No, WAIT!    Women who are MOTHERS do that ALL the time!)

                    I would play for the greater part of every day, content to just pretend the acorns were cows, and that my plastic cowboys on horses were herding them.   That was.... until Dad came storming through the house unexpectedly one day and stepped on them!  He flat out came rushing in.   Unfortunately, my "cattle drive herd" was right in the middle of the living room.

                 Dad in those days. Behind him are the garages where I once hung "leather breeches" or green beans to dry Indian-style. That was the Cherokee in me.
                  Picture my poor Dad going flying, slipping on those dang things!!   His heels shooting up in the air, him landing on hundreds of hard acorns!   (Making the noise a 200 lb sack of beans makes when it hits the floor...)  

                It wasn't pretty.  Mom came running when she heard the fall.  I  learned some NEW cuss words that day from Dad! 

                 My bags of acorns disappeared.  Dad limped around bruised and grumbling for days afterward.  Some of my cool plastic horses had broken legs, too.  Not such a smart invention, my "acorn herd" right about then.  My folks eventually bought me some plastic cows.   All acorns were banned.

                          My butt got tanned later.  Of course.

                     There were an amazing number of fantastic things we had back in the 50's, 60's and thereabouts.  Can you relate to any of these? 

Poodle skirts!

                  Hoola-Hoops, the Twist .... Hot Rods, Rock and Roll...?  Drive-ins, Bobby sox... Oxford shoes, Penny Loafers, Goo Goo Clusters, Moon Pies?  How about Poodle Skirts, boys in tee shirts with packs of "weeds" rolled up in sleeves?  Add to that memorable list: elastic girdles, nylons, garter belts, balsa wood airplanes, cats-eye marbles, transistor radios, and Silly Putty.

Doing the Twist!
                    Ah, remember Hoola-Hoops?!   Whirling those brightly colored plastic denizens around our way-too-skinny hips, balancing them while they spun and we gyrated - that was the best.  I wish I had THOSE hips now!

                   We also learned to do this crazy dance really well.   It was a cool dance and there was a song to match it, "Doin' the Peppermint Twist".   You'd move your hips and arms in the opposite direction from your knees, twisting and slowly crouching down until you were a foot off the floor.   Then slowly coming back up.  All the while you were still twisting. 

                  There were some kicks out to the side, too.   It was all the rage.  So was the "Mashed Pototo", the "Swim", and the "Funky Chicken."   I was very good at dancing.  My Dad hated it.  Don't all dads hate to see their daughters growing up?  

                 Gee, I'd give anything to be able to move my hips and knees like that again.  Heck, if I could move ANYTHING like that I'd be happy!

Junior Prom dress at 16
                   ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC!  Incredible then and still incredible now. 

                 "Blue Moon" was the first song I fell in love to.  

                   The boy was older than me, smelled like Old Spice and faintly of bacon, and was drop-dead cute. 

                                                   Ned Allison.

                He was the smoothest slow dancer.  He held me so close I could feel the heat of his body and then, we pressed our cheeks together.    We danced cheek to cheek, which was very romantic in those days.   It was heaven.    I was 13 and a "goner." (sound of heart pounding..  Okay, right now my sons and grandkids are going "EEWWWWW!") 
                   He was my first "steady" boyfriend.  Well, for all of a month, I think.   He had green eyes,  dark red hair,  was funny, and a good conversationalist, smart.  He had a car and .... well, HE had a CAR!   

                    I adored him.  But we never even kissed.     Maybe that's why we broke up.  Maybe he was looking for "some action."   He wasn't getting any from ME!  Boy, I sure wished now I'd laid a big ole kiss on him.   Later on he became the High School President and went off to be a soldier.  He died in Vietnam.    
               Vaporized.  All of the good things were.  Makes me sad sometimes.

               What about the music?   Music, fabulous music by Ricky Nelson, the Everley Brothers, John D. Laudermilk,  Elvis, Pat Boone, The Supremes, and Marvin Gaye, and  THE BEATLES!   OMG, the Beatles were the best.    The Temptations, the Bee Gees, the Rondales, Marvin Gaye, all were legends of that era.   All the names of my favorite songs I've forgotten it seems, but they still haunt my memories, happily.  

                You NEVER forget those indelibly great rock and roll tunes!  .... or your first love.

Me and my 68' Corvette Stingray
                 Then there were ... Smoking HOT RODS!   Our cool cars! OUR WHEELS!

                   Like... Two-toned Fords and Chevy's with the fins.   (Well, they ALL had fins in those days!) Slick convertible Corvettes - I had one of those too when I was older.  

                   Started with a 66' Sherwood Forest Green Corvette Coupe Convertible, that died one night going around a corner.  

                    Then, I worked two part time jobs and a full time one to pay for this orange beast.  (That's another story, boy was it a lemon.)

My 1958 Oldsmobile Sedan, Ole Smokey!  Man could that thing MOVE!
                   Before that, at the age of 20, I got my very first car.  It was called a "cherry" car.  It was a gun smoke-metal gray 58' Oldsmobile Sedan.   Ahhh....  White leather seats inside, whitewall tires, an engine that roared and squealed the tires on corners.    It screamed with a J2 engine with three smoking 2-barrel carburetors!   (It actually was once a moonshine running rig. And that's another story.  A really good one!) 

                    Before I ever had my own car, I borrowed Mom's, which was NOT cool.  It was a gold compact, a woman's car.  I think it was a Renault.   Nobody thought I was "cool" driving it.  Then again, I was a "brainy" kid and a nerd.   But Mom's ugly car got me down to where all the kids in my town hung out.

Buck's where all the teens in Asheville hung out.  See drive-in area in back. There was MORE!
                    The place to be was at Bucks Drive-In Restaurant.  It was where all the boys would drive their cars around. We all hung out in this one back lot where all the "park and order" spots were.  

                   I am talking about the kind with speakers to the kitchen, and tray holders to put your used trays on.  Some poor guy or gal "schmuck" would bring your order out on a tray and you paid them.  (Kinda like Sonics in Utah today are.)   

                 My Mom loved to eat at the fancy inside part of that Bucks restaurant. This and the Drive-In were on old Tunnel Road in Asheville.  Mom and I gorged on lobster when we could afford it.  She loved their Barbecue Pork sandwiches.  I still am addicted to both of those.  Too bad I live 3000 miles from my mountain home.

                    All the "action"for us teens was out back of Buck's Drive-In.   Boys in cars,  would circle all the rows of stalls where you pulled in to order a Cherry Coke and Fries.  There were three rows of stalls.   The place was always packed with cars.  Boys, girls, cars and food.  What a lethal combination.

                  The lines of cars, 'CRUISIN'" around as we'd say,  were like snakes in heat.   The boys drove slowly, whistled and winked at us girls in our cars.  We gawked at them.  Some girls flirted.   

                  Some of the "wilder girls" would jump out of their cars.  They'd run over and get in with boys they DIDN'T even know.  That would have been ME....    WHAT would their mothers have said?! (Smirk)

                   Eventually, a car full of boys, ready for action, would find a parking place.   Grinning at each other,  they'd be slapping each other on the back in anticipation.   They'd all pile out , and saunter over to talk to us girls.  That's how you did it in those good old days.  That is what's called "hooking up" today.  If a boy liked you, he'd buy you a Cherry Coke, get your phone number (to call later on) and eventually he'd leave with some lame excuse. 

                  More prospecting, to get MORE phone numbers.   Checking out the male competition.  Checking out OTHER girls.   Or maybe he'd invite you to cruise with him, in HIS car!  That's where he'd show YOU off to the competition and the OTHER GIRLS.  That was the best! 

                   Nobody carried guns, knives or any weapons.  The biggest weapon they had was their CARS and their LOOKS!  That could kill your foolish heart.  A few babies were made as a result of those things, in other places, at other times. 
            Not me.  I was a smart one.   I was a "good girl" for many more years.  
               Old Spice Aftershave ruled.  Every boy worth his salt, wore that, reeked of it,  Boys always had a comb and used it often.  Hair would be piled up on his greasy little head.  Clean shaved, he'd wear a pressed cotton button-up shirt, or a plain tee shirt, and jeans.  Always looking neat, but sexy.  Sometimes they'd wear leather jackets.   

                   A lot smoked.  (It was the rage).   We thought they were "hot" and thus, we dubbed them "COOOooooool!"  Today we'd call them IDIOTS!

               All boys thought about after the age of 10 was GIRLS!  HOT RODS.  SPORTS.  Keeping up with other boys.  

              GIRLS:  all we girls thought about after the age of ten was BOYS.  Just boys.  Sigh... things were so simple then.

             No terrorists. No 9-11.  No rising oil prices.  No air pollution.  No crime.  No global warming. No violence in the Middle East.  No Obama.  Just boys thinking about girls.  Girls dreaming about boys.

                Just boys, school, cars, music, the moments we lived in, and nothing farther out.  That's all that occupied our small little, innocent minds.  We believed we couldn't die, wouldn't get into car accidents.  We were invincible.  We'd grow up, get a job, marry THAT boy, have a great life.  We'd have good kids, and all our dreams would come true.  We were Immortal.  Impenetrable. 

                   DUMBER THAN A STICK.   A lot like teens today.  Exactly like them.  Just without all the techie stuff.  Still mouthy.  Still sneaky.  Still teens and tweens.

                 These things are the priceless relics of the times I grew up in: leather jackets and blue jeans.   Madras fabric shirts.  Birds Cage pocketbooks.  Boys with enough grease in their hair to lubricate a freight train.   Penny Loafers.  Bobby sox, Poodle skirts, Oxford shoes, wearing sweaters buttoned backwards, pouffy hair, way too much hairspray. 

                It was "Grease", just like in the movie.  That was the 50s and 60s!
                                   Those sure were the Good Old Days!