Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Car Show & Stuff

I managed to make it to the annual Boeing Employees Car Show. Even better, I made it home again without a disaster. The car did divest itself of some coolant after going up the big hill on Renton Ave. I think it is more that the radiator cap is worn out that it is overheating.
I didn't win any trophies this year, but that's not what it is all about.
To me it is about participating, and getting a chance to talk cars with people who understand the language.
When I try to talk cars around home, I get a blank look and a "That's nice dear".
I actually had one guy in his thirties come up. He was from England and was extremely surprised to see a Jensen Healey. Double surprised when he saw the "Before" picture.
Best of show was won by a 1953 Dodge Power Wagon Pick-up, military version. It was incredible. I swear there was not a speck of dirt on it anywhere, and of course the power was updated by Modern Mopar. I have always wanted one of those. Almost bought one a couple of years ago, but rebuilt and updated my S10 pickup right before I saw the Power Wagon. Been sorry ever since.
I visited the Westfalia in the shop last Friday, and things are coming together. The material for the replacement canvas came in today, and things look OK for it being ready for the 9th when we pack up to hit the road. The new refrigerator/freezer is in, the top is off getting new seals and headliner, and the luggage rack has the new stainless steel tie-downs installed. Oh, and they were putting in the new defroster fan switch and rewiring the radio (there are limits to what duct tape can do).
Still to go: new windshield and rear bumper and end caps. The only thing that may not get done is, I have asked that they figure out a way to mount and vent my Honda Super Silent generator inside the car, but that is something that doesn't have to get done right away.
When we get back from the trip I will have to look into getting it painted.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Been a while

Since I posted anything here.
Part of the reason is that Kelly's death hit me real hard. He was a year younger than me, and we were in the process of putting together a visit.
I am still bummed.
At least I have some nice artwork to remember him by, and some great memories of the stuff we did together.
Tomorrow is the annual Boeing Employees car show, and I have been persuaded to bring Framkenhealey to the show. It is still not complete, mainly wiring problems, but I have no turn signals or wipers. I finally got the headlights working, but one only works on high beam. Shouldn't be too terribly difficult to track down a junction that has a loose connection. I need to go home tonight and clean it up and get it ready to drive tomorrow. I drove it around for several miles on Saturday, finally have the idle set properly, and the mixture seems right. It is only about 4 miles to work, so it is not a big deal.
But I will have my fingers crossed anyway.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Kelly Smith (Mulford) 11/22/1949 - 07/27/2011 RIP

Kelly was my cousin. We were very close when we were growing up. He came very close to being my brother, and I have lots of wonderful memories of the stuff we did together.

For my 15Th birthday, I asked my parents to take us up into the Cascades and drop us off at Scatter Creek Campground above Salmon La Sac in Eastern Washington for two weeks. We packed a Boy Scout pup tent a couple of sleeping bags and enough provisions to keep us alive. I made sure to pack butter, corn meal and salt and pepper and a skillet to fry fish in. We survived on oatmeal, dried apples, fish fried up fresh out of the river, and a few scavenged berries. We hiked all over the area, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

Kelly's dad was a world War II Vet. He had been shot through the jaw. They managed to patch his face back together but he was missing part of his tongue, which made his speech slurred. He was a very smart and talented man. He was fiddle-footed, so they moved up and down the coast. Kelly said he could claim no home town, as he had never stayed in one place long enough. One December 10 days before Christmas, Uncle Steve put a 30.06 under his chin and blew his brains all over the wall and ceiling. He left a wife and six kids behind.

Kelly was the second. He was a very talented artist and had started selling his art in his teens. He and I would get together on the weekend and do Beattle Portraits in black and white and sell them for $5 apiece. It kept us in spending money.

When he was a junior in high school, his mother had a massive heart attack and died. I think she was 41.

Six kids orphaned. We spread them out among the family, but my Aunt on Vashon was their legal guardian. Kelly came to live with us. My parents had agreed to adopt Kelly, so he became my almost brother. I clearly remember that Kelly and I and my dad were partitioning off a section of the basement for a bedroom for the two of us when the call came that Kelly would not be joining out family. My Aunt had found a couple that wanted to adopt the kids, but only if they got all six. All or nothing. While on one point this was incredibly generous, the other condition was not. There was to be no contact between then and their relatives. Just like that, he was gone from my life.

After High school, he wandered or several years It was about 10 years later that he got in touch with my Aunt and Uncle on Vashon, and I got his phone number.

He landed in Bellingham, Wa, and became a pivotal figure in the scrimshaw community there. He made his living doing scrimshaw, and was known all over for his incredibly detailed work.

I included a picture of one of my favorite pieces.

We visited back and forth for several years, but eventually he got tired of scrimshaw, and moved to Texas to manage some properties for his step-parents. He did well, bought a house and was involved in the local old-timey music scene. He was a talented fiddle player, also played harmonica, guitar and squeeze box.

When he moved to Texas, we lost contact, but when I set up a Facebook page, I searched for him, and found him. We started corresponding again by e-mail and phone. When he was up here the last time he spent a couple of days with us. We had a great time. I organized a small family reunion on Vashon, and a bunch of us cousins went over there and had a potluck and told outrageous lies.

The last words he said to me in person were "I had a great time. It was like we were all teenagers again."

Last Wednesday he was doing some maintenance on a rental property. He decided to take a smoke break. He went out to his truck and lit up. He had a massive coronary and died on the spot.

So long old friend. I loved you and will remember you for the rest of my life.

Every time I visit Salmon La Sac I will think of you and smile.