Car Shows, Men, and Elvis


It’s funny how memories of one thing lead to memories of other things happening in the same time period. Like the Twin Towers falling, or JFK getting assassinated. Or Elvis dying.

Today is the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death (August 16th). Forty-five years ago, I was stepping off an airplane from Spain (by way of Morocco). I hadn’t seen an English word anywhere in two months as I studied abroad and traveled with my Iowa State professors and fellow students.

There, at La Guardia airport, I saw my first English headline since June.


By that point, Elvis had turned into a Las Vegas act, a bloated former version of his sexy self. He died of a drug overdose, like so many other famous people: Marilyn Monroe, Janice Joplin. Jimi Hendrix, John Beluchi. Still, those big black words will forever be stuck in my head for August 16th, 1977.

On a happier note, I had a revelation a couple of years ago. My beach town is close enough to Pebble Beach that it has become involved with the annual Car Show week. People come from around the world to see the expensive cars that assemble at Pebble.  In my town it’s the Concourse d’ Elegance for poor people.  You can walk up and down the main street for free and see rows and rows of vintage cars, along with every age of male in the county. Old guys (the car owners), middle-aged guys, even teens.  They are usually with their buddies or their girlfriends/wives. Most of them are holding a beer, although sometimes you’ll see one holding a wine glass. Live music wafts over the crowd from a pub’s parking lot. People are smiling, talking, and asking lots of car questions.

I hadn’t exercised on Tuesday, unless you count pulling weeds and raking up river rocks that have been buried in my front yard for a decade or so. I needed dog food anyway, so I drove to the store, bought the doggie chow, then headed down to Main Street to check out the cars.

I decided to power walk the whole thing, which was a challenge with most people strolling along at turtle speed. I walked around slow couples, young kids, families with strollers, and  people with dogs on those horrible retractable leashes.

Come on, people! No retractable leashes in a crowd! The world does not revolve around you and your dog!

But I digress.

I am a dog lover, have two of my own. It’s some of the dog people who drive me nuts. Speaking of which, the local rescue group had two adorable pit bull puppies on display that day.

I did see two older ladies walking around with Cheshire Cat grins on their faces. They had figured it out as well. Car shows are where the men are. And although I was walking too fast to actually meet any, just knowing that I could have was enough to get me back home in a better mood than when I left for the store.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

I should’ve brought one of my dogs, slowed down, and had a beer.

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