>Whenever we get a bunch of snow and then the weather warms up and turns the streets to puddles and slush, I’m reminded of an incident from high school. My sister, Mitzi, was two grades ahead of me, so I’m thinking this recollection must have been the year she was a senior and I was a sophomore. At Frenchtown High School, of course, just barely Class B in those days.
My dad has worked at Smurfit-Stone for something like 42 years. Of course it hasn’t always been that; I can remember it being called Horner Waldorf, Champion, Stone Container, etc. He had an account at what I think was originally called the Montana Forest Products Federal Credit Union (which ultimately morphed into what is now Gateway Federal here in Missoula, I think), and he set up accounts for us kids. Our allowance back then was every time he got paid, we had $5 automatically transfered into our accounts. Over time that would build up, and we would go withdraw our money to blow it on whatever (mine usually went to records, books and Dungeons and Dragons stuff). In those days, if we had $30 in our pockets we were loaded; do you know how many 25mm lead D&D miniatures you can get for $30?
On this particular occasion we cut out of school early. It was Mitzi, me, and our friend Pam Warne. We were band and choir geeks, all of us. Pam was a junior at the time; she is also the sister of my friend Bubba, who plays drums in LAZERWOLFS. We were coming up Broadway, eastbound, into Missoula. I took this picture yesterday, but back in the day this was a big Chevy (I think) dealer.
We would make a left on Birch, which cuts over from Broadway to North Russell, which is where the credit union was located. Here is a shot from yesterday on Birch, just after making the left from Broadway:
It was a little less developed then (we’re talking ’83 or so), and I think to the right of this picture was a lot where additional cars were kept (it is full of manufactured homes now) surrounded by a chain link fence. You can see how the slush is built up along the edge of the road, but on the day I am describing there was this massive lake of slushy puddle and possibly a bloated skunk or two.
Anyway, as we approached there were two guys in suits slowly picking their way through the melting lumps of snow along the sidewalk. Mitzi was driving, and she would have to either slow way down, or swerve to the left because these unfortunates were just opposite the massive puddle. I remember her asking, “Should I do it?” and me, in the backseat, hollering, “Do it! Do it!”
So she stomped the accelerator and roared through the puddle; we were driving this big, brown Mercury. I remember seeing this tidal wave of water erupt from the side of the car toward the sidewalk, even as the car’s lurch forward threw me against the back seat. I looked out the back, through the fog and ice remnants clinging to the window, at the two guys still in full recoil that obviously did them little good. They were drenched. In my minds-eye I go so far as to imagine them shaking their fists at us. Even now, I have the stern, do-unto-others voice in one ear reminding me that this really isn’t very funny and that wasn’t a particularly Buddha-worthy antic, though the voice in my other ear that will remain eternally 15 still thinks it is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen.
We proceeded, rapidly, up the street to the intersection with Russell. Here’s a shot of that intersection from yesterday; the building to the left is where the credit union used to be housed.
This is my self-portrait from yesterday. I’ve wondered for some time now how many miles would be registered on this most useful of tools, if it came with an odometer. I’ve had it for years, and it has carved many, many delicious pies.
Becky, who does the Release the Kraken Please blog, hipped me to this awesome little application called POLADROID. You install it and then drag images to it and it makes them look like they were taken with a polaroid (the application, when running, even looks and sounds like a polaroid camera!). The images even slowly appear, just like a real polaroid. It is pretty awesome, if I may say so, and this is coming from a guy who hates computers and pretty much all internet googadgery. I made polaroids out of a few images, and I think they are just bitchin’. You can save them before they are fully “developed”, which makes them look even more washed-out and polaroidy. I learned that after I did these, though.