I’ve always been a big fan of small towns and Kansas back roads. After doing our time in Chicago, I’ve even entertained fantasies of living in one. But things like steady employment, cell phone reception and Cristi’s desire for places to buy fresh shrimp have kept these notions at bay and they’ve remained figments of my imagination.
Fortunately, we’re lucky enough to spend a few weekends a month down on my parents’ property pretending. We stir up some dust, fish from the muddy banks of the pond and drink beer in the warm glow of a campfire—even in the oppressive summer heat. We drop in, drop out and go back to work every Monday with a little dirt under our fingernails. But things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you want to bring the spirit of the small town back with you. Sometimes you find a great souvenir.
Let’s rewind back to last Saturday morning—along the highway in Burlington, Kansas. The truck was loaded, my brother and his family were in good spirits and all was right with the world. That’s when I spotted my redneck dream car—a flat black 1955 Pontiac four-door sedan with a 287 under the hood. Nothing special among serious collectors, I immediately fell in love with the crusty old car.
My whole world went into a tailspin. I had visions of immediate simplicity and joy behind the wheel of my rat rod. I imagined pulling up to my dad’s shop to change spark plugs and adjust carburetors. I saw myself joining a whole new social scene filled with car shows, old guys with extra motors and long drives with my flat black brethren. I lost my mind. Now, after almost a week of intelligent debate with people smarter than me, repeated efforts to justify poor judgment and financial finagling, I’ve actively decided to give up the fight.
There will be no ’55 Pontiac parked in driveway of the Shipley-Green estate. If there’s a late night cruise across the prairie in my future, it’s going to be in a fuel-efficient, super dependable Toyota. I’m certainly not complaining, I’m just stating that finding what you’re looking for is hard enough—but walking away from it is damn near impossible.
Here’s to hoping she goes to a good home. I suspect some things look better in the photo album than in the garage anyway.