The cars of yesterday and a bygone era

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 16, 2017

“My eyes turned to salt in looking back,

my thoughts stood still in gestures,

in the silence of what’s been done;

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I gathered the crumbs of another lunch

and shook them into the garden’s vitreous air

where the sun’s just cracked and spilled.

Here, even a flutter of blackbird beyond the hedge

stands still, as my words stand still, like ships in bottles.”

~ Pierluigi Cappello, excerpt from “Staying”

Now and then if I’m driving along and spot a vintage station wagon or truck, my neck swivels and the mouth waters as if I’d opened a box of Godiva chocolates. Growing up in a time when kids still roamed outside, families ate dinner together every night, and there were no computers, Xboxes, cell phones, or gadgets, just books, creeks to wade in, woods, playgrounds, or thinking up revenge plans against pesky brothers. The cars of the day were American classics. They are cars you remember, that remain in the heart, subject of legend.

The first family car I remember, forever imprinted, was an early 60s era white Nash Rambler wagon, red upholstery, gleaming chrome. I’d take one in a heartbeat if one appeared in the back driveway! Next, a blue four-door Dodge sedan with matching upholstery. I remember it mostly for the day my younger brother slammed my fingers in the door. That evolved to my mother’s 70s era forest-green Dodge station wagon. It survived three teenagers behind the wheel. In between came a double-cab VW truck, which my dad drove daily to work over at the college. On Saturdays, he’d load us up for a trip to the library, with the Met opera assailing our ears on the way home, stack of books spilling over the back seat.

Cars today are a new breed: sleek, lots of bells and whistles, computer technology, cameras, TV screens, and all sorts of add-ons. But how many make you sit up and go WOW!   

Forget that new stuff. Meh. But, when a cream puff station wagon in “Mist Blue” cruises along my periphery, catching my eye and delight, I’m all attention. The heart sings, the neck snaps around, and the mouth waters. WOW! Better’n a box of chocolates. Almost!

~ ~ ~

Saluda Welcome Table is every Tuesday at Saluda Methodist Church from 5:30-6:45 p.m. All welcome, donations appreciated.

Learn more about Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) by visiting or calling 828-749-1560. Monthly meetings are the first Wednesday each month, 3 p.m. at Saluda Presbyterian Church. Mark your calendar for SCLT’s annual meeting on April 26, 6 p.m. at Saluda Center.

Saluda Garden Club meets Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. at Saluda Library parking lot for trip to BB Barnes.

Ward’s Grill hosts a free veterans breakfast on the third Thursday of each month. All vets are welcome.

Calling all artists: the Saluda Business Association invites you to enter the juried Saluda Arts Festival on May 20, 2017. Entry deadline is March 17. Visit to link to the arts festival page.

Donations to help support Saluda Historic Depot can be sent to P.O. Box 990, Saluda, NC 28773 or on the website. Saluda Train Tales returns March 17 with Bob Loehne. Visit for more information.

There’s still time to order an engraved brick/paver for Pace Park in the alley by M.A. Pace Store. Drop off applications and payment to City Hall or mail to City of Saluda, 6 Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. Proceeds will go toward building public restrooms. For information, contact Catherine Ross at 828-749-3534 or

Happy February Birthday to Wylie Rauschenbach, Wesley Pace, Biddie Dawson, Ginny Jones, Jenna Igoe, Suzanne Igoe, Pam Thompson, Catherine Raymond, Eva McCray, Ellen Rogers, Margaret Miller, Paul London, Ward Sandahl, Bill Klippel, Pat Bares, Dwight Smith, Ingrid Sandahl, Fred Baisden, Duane Bateman, and Ragan Thompson.

Thank you for reading this column, dear readers. As ever, the goal is to make you feel like you’re enjoying small town life in a friendly mountain town called Saluda. Feel free to contact me at, 749-1153, Facebook, or visit