Monday, January 05, 2009

An Old Cold Rain

The rain's rattling off the rose-a-Sharon bush outside my window tonight. We had yoga class earlier and we slowly made our way home. An impatient driver was riding my bumper but I turned the radio up and flipped my mirror so that I couldn't see how close he was.
When we got to the first straight stretch of road, he gunned it to get around. I slowed even more. He hit a puddle and his tires hydroplaned a little. The skid was not enough to lose control but enough to require a change of underwear when he got home. I hope he remembers to drive more slowly next time it rains but only time and the undertaker will tell.
I remember a night like this in November of 1964. A cold rain had been falling all day and the night turned off cool. Sometime in the night, a siren woke us all up. In those days, the sirens sounded like a wailing tomcat. I looked out my bedroom window and saw flashing warning lights.
Daddy got up, put his hunting jacket on, and walked the fifty yards to where the newly built Armory Road connected into the Sloss Road. There he found the police and an ambulance loading up two people. It didn't look good he said. He didn't get close enough to see who the people were but he said the car was a souped up 1951 Ford with the words "Little Half Fast" written in script across the back fenders. I knew immediately who the car belonged to.
The movie Thunder Road came out in 1958 and I thought that was the best movie I had ever seen. Robert Mitchem was a bootlegger who hauled whiskey and one of the cars drove was a 1950 Ford Coupe. Without a doubt, the coolest car I had ever seen at that point in my life.
That's why I fell in love with "Little Half Fast." It was a car owned by a guy that went to Dora High School, and it looked as cool as Mitchem’s car.
The next day we learned that two people had been killed in the accident. Larry Spears, the owner of the Ford, and Billy Ritch who lived a few houses away from me in Sloss. I was saddened beyond words.
Now every time there is there is an old cold rain, I think of Larry, Billy and "Little Half Fast."

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