I had a couple slick pieces put together, guaranteed to knock your socks off!
I was going to come in this morning after the Christmas day off and get them polished to send to Rob.
That was the plan when I left Thursday. It all changed and I lost interest when Thursday afternoon, I learned I, we, the drag racing community, lost a friend. Henry Gutierrez, owner of the ‘Texas Jungle’ and Brand X Funny cars was senselessly murdered when some asshole came into his home and shot him multiple times. When you are under another man's roof and do something like that you have invaded the sanctity of all that is sacred. I believe in justice and what is left of the legal system, but the sonofabitches who do these things need to be rendered the same fate, no questions.
There seems to be, in this era of social media, a rush to see who can get info posted first, fastest and in quantity. Have at it. If your ego or desire to be a big shot is that severe, do it.
A lot of people knew Henry far better than I. When I bought the Jungle car, Henry was the one who gave me the lead on it. He was an instantly likable guy, sent me t-shirts, parts, had me wrap his transporter and most of all, called many times day, night or 2 in the morning. Anytime we were at the same event I was fed, clothed and plied with drink. Anything I needed, whether I wanted it or not. If Henry knew about it, I had it. Our first commonality was Jungle, that lasted about the first hour we knew each other. After that, we would talk about business, kids, women, how his cars were doing, etc.
A real friend.
We last spoke days ago. He excitedly told me about his crew chief, Paul Smith's passes. "Pretty damn good for an old guy. Eh, Amigo? There's hope for us!” he laughed. I think I was supposed to be somewhere, I was late, when Henry called it was an hour conversation minimum. He had bought a place in Tahoe, which he loved. I'm supposing I, and many others, had an open invitation, “when you're out that way" he would say. He had a wealth of stories, his heritage and business allowed him a very diverse collection of associates. Some that could bring fear and security, depending upon which side of the fence you stood.
As the shock settled in Christmas day, I also read we lost ‘Superman’ Jim Nicoll. Another storied character of our realm. I only met him briefly at CHRR, but he had that aura about him. Cool, just plain cool.
No I won't be submitting the next installment of the Hippo this month. A lot of exciting things are going on there. It will be back in the next issue along with a new series of articles Rob has agreed to let me give a shot.
Call your buddies, hug your kids, talk to your spouse and let the world outside know you are there. It's gone too soon and one day you will be too.
Keep the shop warm.
I'll be a sonofabitch if I don't look around and see or wear something that was connected to you, Henry.
Vaya Con Dios, Mi Amigo. You WILL be missed.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Eddie Buck