It’s that time of year again – summer! These are the times we look so forward to all winter long - warm summer days that blend seamlessly into the night, giving us plenty of time for those classic car get-togethers. It’s the time we hit the car shows and enjoy the company of fellow automotive enthusiasts. Oh sure, the giant events, like the ones held at Carlisle, are fantastic – absolutely worth attending, but they’re hardly intimate. Smaller, local car shows held all over this country, in our own backyards, is where the real magic can happen.
I remember attending a small gathering in north Texas quite a few years ago. I’d been photographing feature cars all day and around 7 pm, it was time to pack away the camera gear. One of the locals graciously invited me back to his place for a massive BBQ dinner with his family. During the meal, he told me about a little spur-of-the-moment car show that was happening that evening out in the countryside. We took his old truck down some heavily-wooded back roads, finally pulling over just outside the town of Anna. Little did I know I’d be dared into eating a banana split the size of a lasagna. This was, after all, Texas!
The show was wonderful (mosquitoes not withstanding), and lasted ’til well after sundown. I enjoyed the break from lens work, and was able to relax and chat with the locals. There couldn’t have been more than 20 cars – Chevys, Fords, Mopars, even an AMX from what I recall. It was such a memorable evening, just hanging out with some down-home car folks. After a time, one of them coerced me over to the snack bar and proceeded to boast about their “family-size” banana split. I must have gotten caught up in the moment or had a momentary lack of reason, because I found myself shelling out eight bucks to order this thing. I asked for a few spoons, thinking I’d share this treasure with some of the kids. Nope, no one took me up on my offer. This was going be all me. A couple of guys stopped short of calling me a city boy, but judging by the looks I got, a gauntlet had been thrown down. What was I going to do, run away? Nope, I sat there for what seemed like an eternity and forced that monster down. Nearing the last few bites, I received a loud round of applause. Afterwards, a concerned looking lady asked me if I was OK. It was a great night – one I’ll remember always.
This summer, I’ll be at a lot of the big shows. Two scheduled trips to Carlisle, one in Delaware, Eckler’s own State Rep show in Indiana, the Tri-Five Nationals in Kentucky – and I’m looking forward to every one of them. There’s a lot to be said however, for hanging out with the locals on a warm summer night – getting to know them and their cars, and maybe even participating in a food dare. I’m sure each and every one of you has a story to tell here – I’d love to hear one!
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