Car show

My whole family liked cars, including my mother who claimed, after her big crash in the late fifties, to hate driving, but still loved her mustang. I used to listen, rapt, to my brother and his friends rhapsodize over such mysterious and alluring automotive esoterica like "candy flake" and "bubble skirts." My dad had great taste in cars. He was always bringing home some stylish rarity that he found in his travels. One year it was a two-toned finned Plymouth whose automatic transmission was accessed with deep chunky buttons, located in the center of the steering column... the kind of buttons you used to press on the tabletop juke boxes at diners, only these buttons shifted the car instead of selecting a tune. My favorite car was the vintage 1956 black Cadillac, pristine and portentous, which I drove to the junior prom. That was back in the days when gas was 39 cents a gallon, and chrome was the coin of the realm.

I drive a 1999 pony now. When it dies, I'll probably get another.

Over the years, I've covered a number of classic car shows for the local paper. Whenever I arrived at one, I always sought out first and foremost the inevitable 1956/57 Chevy Belair - the non-plus-ultra of halcyon collectibles. There's usually at least one - either the robin's egg or the coral two-tone. They make me feel good all over again.

(click on "play slideshow" below):