… Like You Stole It

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The helmet padding smelled all James Deansy. You know… Brylcreem and 10w30 with a little WD40. He’d let me ride back from the finish line in the Chevy II, and I’d put that helmet on for fun. For just a few moments, the rumble of the engine changed the pace of my heartbeat, and for the next 50 years his influence has enhanced the beat of my life.

Drag racing was a way of life when I was little. Whether it was a ’63 Corvette or a ’66 Chevy II, the race car in the garage, on that now rubbled south St. Louis street, was also the family car.

That was so long ago, and the trophies are gone as well, but when a 340 hp engine sets the rhythm of your life when you’re six years old, it becomes a huge part of who you are.

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Recently, I began to wonder about the history and longevity of racetracks; particularly 1/8 mile drag strips and those here in Missouri.

Here’s what I found:   There are possibly 5 remaining strips in Missouri. Mo-Kan Dragway located in Asbury, is the oldest, operating since 1962. Others are Ozark Raceway Park (1977 Rogersville), U.S. 36 Raceway (1990 Osborn), Jeffers Motorsports Park (1969 Sikeston), and Thunder Valley (1966 Bethany).

Going to individual websites of each track, I found that drag racing remains a family friendly outing. IHRA and NHRA sanction their operations.

Historically, interesting car names included Green Monster, Hemi Hoss, Mothers Mistake, and Shakers Rat. Opinion: it seems sponsor decals overshadow the once popular and clever car nicknames.

Because of his accomplishments, technology innovations, and contribution to the sport, racer “Big Daddy” Don Garlits (still kicking at age 86) was a common thread. He is considered #1 on a list of top 50 racers. He retired in 1992.

Accutime II has replaced the traditional Christmas Tree, and fuel such as Purple 110 Octane is available on site.

In my high school days, I was able to go to a track located in Pevely. Flooding, poor attendance, and the success of an adjacent oval track prompted the closing of its 1/8 mile option in 1993.

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Taken 2014. The oval track is now called Federated Auto Parts Raceway.

Information about drag strips is certainly abundant. After all, it is a sport where records are meant to be broken, and technology plays an important role. I suppose my occasional stoplight antics might seem juvenile to some. I view it as a reflection into my past, my heritage. I’d love to go back and tell my dad thanks for the influence, thanks for teaching me to live fully, one eighth mile at a time. Cars are cool!

“I just loved it,” Garlits said of why he drag raced. “I liked the idea of two cars lined up side by side, not bumping into one another. It was one person against one person, one machine against one machine. There was a winner and a loser. It was real simple.”

Website shout outs:  dragstriplist.com, racingin.com, motorsports.com

 

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Jumping Into Neverland

Hey Friends,

I’m stopping by to give you an update on my adventure. As you know, I gave up a beloved teaching career with great sadness and reservation. It is no surprise that I miss the children, their parents, and being in a classroom. Some have asked… and no, I won’t ever go back. This writing gig is going to work, I’m quite certain. Fact: writing is ever so much harder than teaching, but I remain steadfast to my checklist.

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To date I have written and edited three chapters of my humorous cookbook-The Quickest Way to a Man’s Heart is With a Butcher Knife. I will begin the task of publisher’s query letters in the next few weeks.

My children’s book series-Hank and Milo is off and running. With carefully checked facts, an expert in the field, and an extensive lesson plan package, the first in the series is complete. Of course the underlying tone is character education. (You can take a teacher out of a classroom, but…) Nine completely different query letters are now out of my hands. My hope is that at least one of them makes it to a publisher’s desk. No rejection letters, as yet. Hash tag Brightside.

Additionally, in the works are such titles as Revenge of Little Miss Muffet (look up splatter punk) and Quarter Mile to Nowhere. Raise your hand if you thought I might write about cars. The binders on my desk are endless, and that’s a wonderful thing. No writer’s block here.

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Finally, during the month of November I am participating once again in an all out writing marathon. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month) is a self inflicted boot camp whereby I will be writing 50 thousand words in 30 days; all the while giving attention to other projects that might bring $ in quicker fashion. (There is the house payment to consider.)

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The Gentry: Fire Trial is a mystery that takes place at a B&B in a small town. The underworld of fairies will provide mayhem, mischief, and magic. Murders will take place and ley lines will be crossed. Second sight will be granted and hearths will become the judge’s chamber. How can something so small be so evil? Site name Aubrey…

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As I end this post I hope to cast a spell upon my social media friends. Please wish me luck, pray for me if you’re so inclined, and email me a swift kick in the pants from time to time. Writing is a lonely life, as Hemingway illustrated with his love for whiskey.

Final aside: This post is not about cars. However, while not dragging my feet, I’ve shifted careers. Using wordsmith engine-uity I hope to spark your interest. I promise to stay on track, never to exhaust my fervor. My drive remains between the lines and I will not curb my enthusiasm. Vroom vroom!

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Coal Rollers Part 1

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Opinions Welcome!

Hey to all my Word Press, LinkedIn, and Facebook friends.  I’m getting ready to work on an article about something known as Coal Rolling.  It may even be referred to as Black Smoke Trucks.  At this time I have a very uneducated opinion on the topic.  I’ve done a little digging and found out some interesting facts about this fairly new public expression via one’s vehicle.

I would love to have your input on this.  Don’t feel compelled to go on a fact finding mission.  That’s my job.  I just want to know what you think or already know. You are welcome to message me at Facebook, LinkedIn, or send an email to hoodscoop03@yahoo.com.  Please know that I won’t use anyone’s name.

Thanks, Debbie

Photo credit goes to howstuffworks.com.

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My World…

My world According to Me… thus far

As most of you know I’ve jumped off a very large cliff. This post is simply a warm up to things yet to come.

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No More Teaching: This was the very, very hardest thing for me. I love being a teacher. It was a passion, calling, career, and job for me- in that order.   School supplies are like Krispy Kreme donuts to me. Tedious planning makes me giddy. I seriously want to cut out lamination, make name plates and come up with new games. Give me a complicated child and I’m all about making that little Stevie love coming to school and succeeding. And I desperately miss meeting a new group of parents. But I gave it up and I’m rolling the dice. Please don’t encourage me to go back. The amicable divorce is final. (Know anyone that wants to buy a ton of third grade teaching supplies?)

Retirement: This was the second hardest thing for me. I’m not retired. I’ve changed my career setting. I have no money and I don’t believe I’m a respectable retirement age. Daily, I draw on a bravery I did not know I had. I’ve fielded more comments than I ever imagined. My determination is larger than my bank account.

Best Friends: There are only two. You know who you are. One will get my jewelry; the other will get my Elvis albums.

Car Club: Hoping to devote more time and perhaps branching out to other clubs. I kind of wish meetings began with prayer. Actually most things in life should begin with prayer.

The Mustang: Can’t believe it is over two years old. I’ve saved every gas receipt. Wash it like no other. Miss the ’03 Tank-still reach for things that are out of place. The Tank didn’t talk back to me. I carry the VIN # just in case. In fact, I carry all the VIN #s with me. You never know when a ’63 Corvette or ’79 Trans Am might seem familiar. The car life be like…

Blogging: Back at it! A huge shout out to Mart, Mustang Maniac, and Sid. These folks follow me from well outside our borders. Many thanks to family and friends who take me just a tad more seriously than the average cat video. Social Media (in my heart) can be the largest island of loneliness. It helps, hurts, includes, excludes, promotes and tears down.

My boys: They are gifts beyond measure.

Hubby: Thanks for letting me jump off the cliff. (Humorous comments welcomed!)

Writing: I have so many projects in the works. A goal without a plan is just a wish. A few feet away are several white binders that are my plan. Thankfully, the process is just as rewarding to me as the outcome. (Kind of like teaching). Shhh.

Drinking: I do too much. So did Hemingway.

Floridita bar interior, with statue of Ernest Hemingway and a local patron, Havana, Cuba caribbean, Latin America

Religion: Sit down and hang on… I’m no longer Catholic. Yvonne and I have been on a very complicated journey for the last two years. She needed someone else to talk to besides me, and I needed to love God without religion getting in the way. We’ve joined a wonderful church. Google maps found it half way between our houses. Rock Presbyterian has a small congregation of the most amazing folks. We look forward to church every Sunday and feel right at home. How wonderful to be comfortably devoted to God instead of trying to fight through smoke screens of formality and tradition. We pray every day without ceasing.   God has a path for all of us. Feeling blessed!

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Weight Loss:   It’s a numbers game.

Tomorrow: The next day is always better if you do your best the day before. The next day can begin with you doing your best even better. Bobby Bones says: Fight, Grind, Repeat!

Smile: Always, always, always smile. It does so much good. When it’s hard to do, it means the most. When it’s needed, it does the most good. When you don’t do it, you’re missing out on the most good of all.   Smile.  Always smile.

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Thanks Pete W!

Finally… On Writing:

This will cause me to do one or more of the following:

  1. Go broke (oh, wait already done)
  2. Reveal myself (I’m an open book, hee hee, hopefully someday someone will open one of my books)
  3. Become famous
  4. Feel regret (just teasing, never!)
  5. Inspire others (Please don’t ask me to write about teaching)
  6. Make money (we need more garage space)
  7. I would love to meet Ellen Degeneres.

In parting – my apologies for the self centered post. In my defense it is nothing like a tri-fold Christmas letter. I’ve not been to Hawaii, earned a degree, or lost thirty pounds. I’ve simply jumped. And I’m currently working on the proper landing.

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I Think I Can, I Think I Can…

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Just like the Little Engine That Could, I took on Spring Break with confidence and energy.  Ahhh… time away from teaching and I’m having a very productive week. Closets cleaned, drawers organized, flip-flops color coordinated, and even time spent writing.

I went out on a limb today and sent a few of my songs (after quite a bit of editing) to the Bobby Bones show in Nashville. While they may feel that my talent (or lack of) can only be used to line the bottom of a birdcage, I’m hopeful for constructive criticism at the least. At most I would love for one of the songs to be passed on to an interested artist, who might in turn want to use the lyrics. If you want to make things happen you have to make them happen. Or famous words by Napolean Hill – Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Bobby Bones radio show here are a few facts:

  1. Bobby is accompanied by ‘a bunch of friends’.  This includes Amy, Eddie, Ray, Lunch Box, and Nada.
  2. At present the show comes from Nashville and can be heard in most cities around the country.
  3. The Bobby Bones show is brought to us by iHeart Media.
  4. All members of the show support the premise of #pimpinjoy. This phenomenon has raised a great deal of money for St. Jude, veterans, to name a few. It also encourages a positive mental attitude, acceptance, and appreciation among people… for all people. Not a show airs without the mention of people doing nice things for other people.
  5. Other phrases include FIGHT, GRIND, REPEAT  and Everyday Is A Good Day!
  6. While the show’s format is primarily Country, Bobby and his co-hosts embrace all types of music.  One of my favorite segments remains The Friday Morning Dance Party.  When we don’t go to Friday Mass you can find my third graders dancing like crazy at 8:00am.  We even got a shout out from Bobby!
  7. I believe the show celebrates its fourth year on March 16, 2017.
  8. Bobby has written an inspirational book titled Bare Bones. It is certainly worth reading.

Here is a link to the show to learn more.  The Bobby Bones Show

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Final note: To my blog followers- I know this post appears to have nothing to do with cars. But it does. My goal is to some day write full time focusing on my blog, young adult fiction, etc. Hopefully this passion will continue to have an automotive slant and pay off monetarily.

In my own unique way I will continue to try and make positive changes in my life. Hopefully theses changes will have an impact on others. I look forward to what lies ahead!

If you have an opinion about sending my songs to Bobby and his friends… I would love to hear it. However you may have more to say about the color coordinated flip-flop collection.

Thanks for reading.

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Route 66-A Past, A Presence, A Passion

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The only thing better than being a car enthusiast is being a car enthusiast driving down one of the most beloved stretches of highway in our country’s history. Route 66 is America. It is a drive that connects the dots from the past to the present. When you touch this great road it touches you back.

Here are a few pics I’ve taken along Route 66.

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As one of its newest members, I  went to my first meeting of The Route 66 Association of Missouri. A huge thank you to my husband, Brad for riding shotgun!   We didn’t know what to expect, but the hour-long drive to Wildwood, Missouri was a beautiful one. You might be curious as to how it took an hour to drive from South County to Wildwood. In truth: when I hit the “avoid highways” option on my navigation, I really do mean it. Our destination was Stovall’s Grove Dance Hall & Saloon. We enjoyed a great meal of pork steak, chicken, salad, and other sides along with 60+ other members.

 

The meeting did not disappoint. Led by our president, Tommy Pike, it was extremely well run, informative, and entertaining from start to finish, The agenda included items such as the treasurer’s report, old and new business, and upcoming events. Rounding off our visit was a historical presentation given by Stovall’s proprietor.

 

Prior to joining the association, I knew I had a fondness for The Mother Road and its history. However, it was when Ruth Keenoy, a historic preservation specialist, spoke about the work she and our club have done, and continue to do, on the Meramec River Bridge.   It was then that I became excited about being part of The Route 66 Association of Missouri. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the association also takes very serious the preservation of neon signs along the road, in addition to a great number of other worthwhile endeavors.

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Extras:

A big thank you to our table mates Ginger and James.   There was another likable fellow with great humor, but I can’t recall his name.  I later found out we were sitting with royalty, as James is the VP of the association.

Anyone can join the Route 66 Association of Missouri.

The bridge we are saving is located in The Route 66 State Park.

Please click on links throughout this post to learn more!

Picture credits: Me, NPR Service, flickr.com, and a gofundme page set up by Keenoy for the bridge.

My greatest apologies for any misinformation.

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Quite A Bit

 

 

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I just needed to say it so I wrote this song to my son Jon. It makes my heart very happy.  My heart is always very happy.  My heart is always #brightside… and quite a bit more.

 

Quite A Bit

Just in case I haven’t told you this in quite a bit, I’m missing you more than just quite a bit. You’re on my mind most partial parts of most every day and I can’t help myself to say I miss you more than words can say, but only in a small enormous way. No pressure from your momma’s heart just a few vague words full of sidewalk skips, giant steps and rain drop puddles with big jump starts. I miss you more than a few small hugs, more than heartstring tugs, and more than all the moments in a calendar year. No pressure here, no pressure here. Saying it out loud brings clouds to a clearing up smiley day, but hey #brightside sent your way. Missing you more than just quite a bit, it’s like fields of praises, gone up in blazes and love spilled out upon the floor. But I know I raised you and your heart spills inside my heart forever more. I know you’ll come back and we’ll touch hearts, saying goodbye to time apart. Until then I miss you so much more than just a little bit, quite a bit. Until then I’m hit with quite a bit of you not here. You’re nowhere near, your voice unclear. You’re on my mind most partial parts of most everyday. You’ve found your way, and your Momma says hey. And way to go. Way to go. No matter where you roam….You’ve found your way. Until you find your way back home. Until then I miss you more than just a little bit of quite a bit, and more than a calendar that never quits. My heartstrings sing and sing and sing. I miss you more than just quite a bit. Looking down the road that brings you home to me. I miss you more than just quite a bit. Just in case I haven’t told you this in quite a bit, I’m missing you more than just a quite a bit. I miss you more than forever and quite a bit more until the road leads you back to me.

 

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Love you as big as the sky Jon Boy.

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