I Confess, I Love 'Horny' Cars
My Uncle Ott, Rest His Soul . . .
OTHER VINTAGE CARS WITH "REAL" HORNS
This hub has nothing to do with cattle with horns. Sex in, out, or with cars. The delightful horn-section of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. Or even blues legend, Louis Armstrong and his angelic-horn that entertained millions. No. I hate to admit this, but the headline is a bit deceptive. But what other way could "I" express my nostalgic, permanently-rooted feelings for those vintage cars (as seen in photos of this hub) that are only with us in museums or in some collector's garage guarded by ADT Home Security? I did what I thought best.
In all honesty, this hub is dedicated to one of my favorite uncles, Ottis Clark, now deceased, a resident of Pekin, Illinois. A lot can be said about Ottis. He was always. And I mean always, smiling. Laughing. And eating good food. Mostly the southern food delights that my grandma Avery cooked for him and her daughter, Arvilla, when they made their yearly trek from Illinois to Hamilton, Alabama, to visit with us country cousins.
I remember it well. I was seven. It was a hot summer day. I just happened to be out of school for summer vacation and was having to stay with grandma and grandpa Avery, my dad's parents, who lived in Hamilton. Staying with these elderly people was not a trip to the circus let me tell you. It was a true clash of ideas, ages, and attitudes. That pretty much sums it up. Okay. In one sentence. My grandpa, James Avery, would make it his business to "spy" on me while I was outside playing some imaginary game. James thought it best that I fit into the foolish and uncaring credo, "Children should be seen. Not heard," but me? I was a young rebel. I loved to run. Pretend to play football. Yell. And just be a seven-year-old kid. Obviously grandpa James had long forgotten what that was like.
I heard a loud noise coming down the gravel road to my grandparent's home. For a flash of a moment, my heart stopped. What I saw coming at me sending a ton of dust in the air was my uncle Ottis and aunt Arvilla. How did I know, even at seven, it was Ottis and Arvilla? Easy. Ottis would buy nothing but a big car. A Buick at that. He loved Buick's. Said once that General Motors should "rule the world," but people knew that he was an American and not a closet-Communist.
"Well, hello there, Kenny boy," Ottis yelled as he stopped his jet-black '56 Buick Roadmaster. "Hello, little Kenny," aunt Arvilla said in her finest Illinois tone. I nodded. Said, "Hi, uncle Ott. Aunt Arvilla," and continued staring at his new car. Ottis and Arvilla got out of the car. Stretched. And went inside the house to see grandpa and grandma Avery. Fine by me. This gave me a chance to inspect this "manufactured monster machine" that made my breath short. I opened driver's side door. Then it hit me. "That" certain new car aroma. You've inhaled this loving aroma haven't you? Nothing like it anywhere.
Without caring whom might be watching my frail, seven-year-old frame behind this huge steering wheel that was comparable to the wheel that steered the majestic riverboats up and down the Mississippi River. I felt like a man. I even felt grown-up as I looked in this huge rear-view mirror that a person could use to get dressed with. I was in heaven. Then I took my small hands and placed them on this massive steering wheel--sending waves of joy throughout my heart and soul. I pretended to be driving down a long, country road while bevy's of pretty girls stood along the pavement and waved at me. I didn't stop to ask them if they wanted a ride. Legendary film star, James Dean wouldn't have been proud of me if I had done that.
Then, for some foolish reason my right hand became possessed like the devil had taken over. My right hand moved from the steering wheel before I had time to wonder why and then it happened. An event, although alarming, changed something in me. Something deep. Something that would stay with me until today in 2012. I hit the silver horn that beckoned me like a sultry siren in downtown Birmingham, Alabama whom I had read about in my grandma Avery's GRIT newspaper. I had sinned. Given in to temptation. The sound of the horn was more like a bellowing cow lost from its herd. My ears hurt. Grandma Avery's chickens, who were scouring the ground around the car for worms, flew up in a cloud of dust and fear. This scared me more than grandpa Avery yelling from the rickety wooden back porch, "Get yourself outta that car . . .NOW. I mean it," what a drama queen. Red-faced. Fanning his gray flannel hat at me. Ottis and Arvilla only laughed behind his back. Ottis was like that. No harm done. I rolled out of Ottis' Buick and ran to grandpa's barn. And hid until time for my parents to pick me up when they got off work. To show you how LESS grandpa and grandpa Avery cared about my welfare, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., they never once came searching for me. Even at age seven, I knew that these two (hate to lie) poor excuses for grandparents didn't give a plug nickel for me. Sad. And true.
When my dad and mom arrived that evening things were fine. Daddy shook hands with his brother-in-law, Ottis. Kissed his sister, Arvilla. And the world continued to turn. But grandpa Avery, the contentious, know-it-all, just had to snitch to my dad about me blowing the horn on uncle Ottis' beautiful Buick. But to grandpa's chagrin, my dad only smiled at me. And never brought up this "transgression" again. My dad was like that. Sometimes.
I mean, what happened to the sound of loud, bellowing, melodic-horns on American automobiles? Did you ever stop to think about things such as this? It was as if, overnight, as we all slept and dreamed in false-secured thoughts and lifestyles, someone threw a switch on the engineering tables at the auto manufacturing plants in America and without as much as a decent warning, we lost our horns. No more loud horns. To me, a car is simply naked without a loud horn. Naked to be laughed at among car-designers of old. And pined-away-for by nostalgic fans like me. You want to know the truth? I hate the sounds of today's car horns. They all pretty much are a replication of the cartoon Roadrunner when he outruns Wiley Coyote. I despise that "meep, meep," sound that today's car horns make. Shameful. Laughable. And disgraceful.
The cars I used in this hub came fully-equipped with horns that COULD be heard. Down a city block. Or a country mile. No man, beast of fowl of the air could honestly testify that if they were in the right of way, and were warned by the horn from one of these 'manufactured masterpieces,' they they didn't hear the horn. A lie told by a liar. It was near-impossible to NOT hear the horns of these cars from our yesteryear's. Did you bother to think about this at any time? And when you bought you last car, say in the last eight years, did you bother to check the horn? That was second on the 'auto buyer's list' after making sure the car had a good engine. Making sure the car had a nice, loud horn for all to hear. My dad wouldn't drive a car that didn't have a horn that caused window panes to crack. I admired that about him.
What I'm trying to hard to say is to me, a car is just plain, flat-out sexy. Alluring, if it has a horn that can be heard above a girl's whisper. A loud horn might be the signal that a real man is behind the wheel, not a spineless, overly-sensitive, fearful of his shadow man who afraid of everything that moves. You can pretty much tell a lot about a man by the sound of his car horn. Try it sometime. No, don't. It won't work. No car or truck in modern society has a horn that says, "I'm a man." The horns on today's automobiles scream, "How "I" wish I WERE a man," and I know this is hard to swallow, but when I signed up for HubPages, I vowed to tell the truth for I love to be able to sleep nights.
Here's a automotive horn fact for you: have you ever wondered why over-the-road truckers get so many women? It's not their bank accounts. Not their clothing. And obviously not their Hollywood male movie star looks, but maybe it's the size and always-distinguishable sound of their air horns. The same can be said about men who own their own tugboats. A tractor-trailer rig and a tugboat have not changed their horns over the years. We American males who grew up with big cars with big engines and loud, sexy horns, need to thank our brothers who drive the big rigs and pilot their tugs up and down the rivers of our country for always keeping the "pure spirit of a loud horn" alive on their machines in a society that has all-but-forgotten what a real horn on a car sounds like.
Join with me, if you will by taking time to say "thanks" to the next trucker we see or the next tugboat pilot we run into. We might make his day by acknowledging that there are still some things in our society that will never change.
As for telling uncle Ottis how much I loved his horn . . .I blew it.
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