Strawberries

Discussion in 'Road Stories' started by MUSTANGGT, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. MUSTANGGT

    MUSTANGGT Road Train Member

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    After finally extricating themselves from their self imposed exile it was mutally agreed upon that some outdoor activity would be in order. Ricky thought a visit to the Chatham County Speedway would be a grand idea.

    While waiting in line at the ticket window, Ricky was approached by his old high school classmate, Richard. It was rumored that his father, and track owner, named him after Richard Petty, in hopes it would be good karma in propelling the lad's racing career, but it was not meant to be. Richard was fair on the drag strip, but never got the hang of the oval tracks.

    In high school the two were inseperable and became known as Rick & Rich. They often double dated and sometimes raced on the Georgia backroads. But, as happens in life, Richard went to college and Ricky went to the Marines, both ending back up in Springfield, where they remained friends, even if they saw each other infrequently.

    "Been a while Rick." Richard said extending his hand. "Beginning to think the road done swallowed you up."

    "Naw, still truckin'. Just taking a little break. Like you to meet Joey. She's paying us a visit from California."

    "It's a pleasure to make your aquaintance, Miss Joey. Let me put yall in one of our luxury boxes. It's on me."

    "Thank-you so much, Richard. We would be honored." Joey said.

    "Don't get too excited." Ricky said when they were out of earshot. Joey understood when she saw the luxury box. Essentially a plywood enclosure, but to be fair, it did feature cushioned seats, unavailable in general seating. The was also a low table with built in cup holders for setting down one's food.

    "Well I happen to think it's nice." Joey said. "And everybody around here has been so nice, also. I'm starting to see where you got it from."

    "That's right. I'm just a product of my environment. If I had grown up elsewhere, I could be a mean old grouch."

    "I wouldn't take it that far now. But really, folks are nice here."

    Joey became visibly excited when the first set of cars rolled onto the track. It was only the four cylinder class, but it was still racing, and those guys were a blast to watch. Richard stopped by the box for a visit during intermission. After the two old friends got caught up on old times, Joey talked some about her brief racing career on the west coast. Richard was impressed with both her record and her knowledge. Her personality and college major put the icing on the cake. He insisted she meet his father as soon as he could arrange a meeting.
     
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  3. MUSTANGGT

    MUSTANGGT Road Train Member

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    Richards father, Austin McCormick was a jolly man with a few extra pounds who wore it comfortably. His gold rimmed glasses sat atop a nose bulbous from alcohol abuse, but he seemed to wear that well too. Austin knew how to work a crowd. He hosted a local afternoon TV show in Savannah for several years and was Springfield's mayor for two consecutive terms.He was well known and well liked by most who knew him. Nowadays he devoted all his time to his race track, hoping the popularity of NASCAR would transfer to the local level. His latest ambition was to attract tourists off the interstate to attend the races.

    He told Joey this as he treated her and Ricky to a fine steak dinner at Ray's down on Bay Street the following night. He wanted someone to approach this with a fresh set of eyes, a youthful perspective. Being from California was a nice touch as well he thought. He wanted her help with promotions and advertising, the very thing she would have been doing with Hector in Miami, except she would be in charge.

    He also raised the possibility of her driving in the occasional race when a fill in driver was needed. Joey's eyes lit up at the prospect. The pay wouldn't be great to start, but the hours would be flexible and she would be able to enroll at the local university and continue her education at her own pace. Ricky had already hinted at her staying with him for a while, so she knew a place to stay wouldn't be a problem, and the small salary would cover part time tuition with some left over. But in an effort to not appear over eager she told Austin she would have to discuss it with Ricky and sleep on it overnight. As was his nature, Austin told her no rush, take all the time she needed. He thanked the couple for an enjoyable evening as he handed over his business card.

    "Are you kidding? I would so love that." Joey exclaimed as soon as they were seated in the Mustang."But..."

    "But what?" Ricky asked.

    "I have to be sure about staying here. About us. I don't want to impose."

    "Banish the thought. I very much want you to be happy, as much as I wish you would want to stay here. With me, that is."

    "You really mean that?"

    "Don't make me beg, but I will if necessary."

    "I love you, country boy."
     
  4. MUSTANGGT

    MUSTANGGT Road Train Member

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    Joey took the job. While talking with the career counsellor at the university, something kept tickling the back of her brain. A gentle nagging. She finally figured it out. Watching the racing over the weekend; Austin's excitement over the future of his track. It brought back the excitement she once had when driving the car on the track. But it seemed like a dead end at the time when the money dried up. She had never considered it a serious vocation anyway. But something in Austin's passion had her considering other aspects of the sport. No wonder the guy was elected mayor twice, she thought.

    Drivers come and go. And like ballplayers, they usually go as they get older. But a crew chief was like a coach. He had the knowledge to tune the car. To set up the suspension. Good crew chiefs were in demand.

    The counsellor registered surprise when Joey began asking about engineering courses, aerodynamics and personell management. She set up as light of a schedule as she could to allow for work and the occasional trip to California to visit family.

    Ricky had been more than accomodating on this. He went through the proper channels to allow her to drive legally as his apprentice and would have her CDL in a matter of time. He also made some big changes in his routine. He hauled frozen fish and citrus out of Florida up the east coast or Chicago, never gone more than a few days at a time. Sometimes he would haul poultry to Texas and return with produce from the Rio Grande Valley. In her wildest dreams, she wouldn't domesticate him, but he seemed content with the changes, and made them without anyone elses prompting. Maybe he wasn't ready before.
     
  5. Calve

    Calve Light Load Member

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    Waiting for the movie. We can get Jessica Alba to play the part of Joey and Barry Watson to play Ricky.

    It's pure win.
     
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  6. MUSTANGGT

    MUSTANGGT Road Train Member

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    A couple of months into her new job the track announcer became severely and unexpectedly ill. There was a man Austin used off and on over the years, but no way he could make it up from Jacksonville on such short notice. Joey was sitting at the other desk tabulating ticket sales and could hear the frustration in her boss's voice as he struggled for a solution.

    "Let me do it." she said.

    "We ain't never had no girl...er, lady do it before, Joey."

    "So?"

    "You got a point, as usual. But I don't know how folks would take to it."

    "I think they won't mind a bit. They are here for the racing. You have a good product. It sells itself. I'm just telling them what they can see with their own eyes. If I do a poor job, we have a whole week to find somebody if Mr. Simms doesn't get well."

    Mr. Simms didn't get well. In fact, he died two days later from heart failure.

    Joey was an instant hit with the crowd. In fact she became something of a minor celebrity. She didn't want to play down to the crowd, but allowed some local speech mannerisms creep into her dialect. In fact, it was happening anyway, after half a year of being away from California. Her father said she was sounding more and more like a hillbilly, which she steadfastly denied.

    "I talked to your daddy just a few minutes ago." Ricky said after helping himself to another kiss.

    "Oh, really. You two have become quite chummy it seems."

    "He's beginning to tolerate me, I reckon."

    "Oh, bull. He adores you. You would know if he didn't."

    "He would have talked to you first, but he knew you would be in the tower most of the night." Ricky said, turning serious. "They sentenced Manny today."

    "It's bad isn't it?"

    "Thirty years." Ricky said with a touch of regret.

    "Oh, Jesus." Joey said softly, crossing herself in the Catholic tradition. "My poor Margueritte."

    "She has already moved in with your father. I guess she wanted to get out of the neighborhood. He is going to fix the place up some and try to help her sell it."

    "They will be good for each other. Only a few weeks left in the season. Can you find a load to the west coast?"

    "Just say the word, baby, and be ready to saddle up."
     
  7. Bumpy

    Bumpy Road Train Member

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    Glad your back in the saddle here,Mustang..
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  8. Bumpy

    Bumpy Road Train Member

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    You want to go to the bathroom standing up half the time?:biggrin_25525: Oh,THAT Joey.,.:biggrin_255:
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  9. okcowgirl97

    okcowgirl97 Bobtail Member

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    So good that I feel guilty that I didn't have to buy a book to read it! Great job Mustang!
     
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  10. MUSTANGGT

    MUSTANGGT Road Train Member

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    Thank-you. You're too kind.
     
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