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Tempos and Roadrunners


Fri, May 3rd, 2002
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Monday, May 6, 2002

We have two new used cars in the family within the past couple of months. My wife and I purchased one of them for Matt, our high school junior. The other is a "step-car". It sort of followed our oldest son, Bob, home.

Bob recently revealed himself as the Dr. Frankenstein of the automobile world. Several months ago he told us that he was just about ready to unveil his newly created pride and joy. We saw it for the first time on Easter Sunday, parked on his grandfathers spotless concrete driveway, hood up, anti-freeze streaking toward the storm sewer, and an oil slick growing underneath it. It is, or was, or can be said to consist mostly of pieces from a 1980 Plymouth Roadrunner. He put it together from parts scavenged from several different cars. Like the fictional Dr. Frankensteins creation who had some social problems, I can see that this refugee from the junkyard might not feel too comfortable parked among other cars in any parking lot.

This Roadrunner boasts a truly outstanding 360 cubic inch engine. It has been bored, cam-med, and chromed to the point where the experts think it is perfect. That means it hardly runs at all. But, when it does, cover your ears and hang on. Or, maybe you should find something to hang on to first. Plymouth was never known for its fine accoutrements, but the Roadrunners of the late 70s were evidently stamped out of old rusty culverts. The windows and door holes were punched out with sledgehammers and dull chisels. They saved the lock-washers and soundproofing for the Chryslers. Weather seals were an afterthought. There is no need to use all this engine power. Driving fifty-five sounds like a hundred and ten. Of course, it could well be a hundred and ten as the speedometer doesnt work yet. That is an inconsequential detail to a young man.

Our other new car is a 1993 Ford Tempo. This little red two-door is a cool car for a high school kid. It started its life with us in typical fashion. My wife and I bought it from a family that lives on a farm. We drove it away and got about four miles before we ran out of gas.

The other day I drove the Tempo to work instead of my 1986 Dodge pickup. It is the first time I had driven the Tempo any distance. It is a different driving experience than the full-size pickup. For one thing, once I have climbed into the pickup it is very easy to fall out. In contrast, I fold myself into the Tempo and have to work against gravity to get out. Rat .....
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A Toast to Writers

Fri, May 3rd, 2002
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Monday, April 29, 2001

We held our semi-annual Journal writers get together last week at the Parkway Pub in Lanesboro. Most of the free-lance writers whose stories you read each week often send their work in by e-mail and dont often get the c ..... 
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