©2013 Bill 'Badco' Ott
*Now I sit by my window and I watch the cars
I fear I'll do some damage one fine day
But I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers*
“Be right back” he said with a wink and a smile. A smile that glowed both on the outside and inside. After all, it was just a few short hours ago since he and his new bride shared their wedding vows in front of family and a few friends. It was by any standards a simple ceremony performed in the huge living room of her childhood home. In front of an equally huge marble fireplace with a mounted, genuine Texas longhorn - 6½-feet from tip-to-tip – stood watch.
The newlyweds were just starting out on life's newest adventure and like most young couples back in '68, finances were tight. So tight in fact, that they both had to be back at work Monday morning. A real honeymoon would have to wait.
A few hours after the ceremony over at Lake Buchanan, when they pulled into the Georgetown (Texas) Inn, he could already hardly recall the barely fifty mile drive on this beautiful Saturday afternoon in April. The kind of afternoon that makes you feel sorry for those who haven't experienced 'Bluebonnet Season' in Central Texas. Seemed to him more like they floated along Highway 29 in a sea of color, instead of bouncing along in a borrowed green '53 Chevy tudor.
The Bridal Suite had been reserved a while back and he couldn't help but notice the smiles on the folks behind the counter in the lobby when he picked up the room key. In a matter of minutes he was carrying her ‘across the threshold' and into their room.
The Georgetown staff had done a great job with of prepping their suite, even including complimentary flowers and decanter of champagne! The couple decided the champagne would be best served slightly chilled. So, as his new bride slipped into something more comfortable - a black see-through with spaghetti straps - he headed out the door with a container in search of the ice machine.
Now, remember that “Be right back?” Well, when he left the suite he really, really meant it, until...
He stepped outside into the setting sun and looked both left and right and didn't see an ice machine anywhere. Must be around back, he thought to himself. As he rounded the building into the rear parking lot he walked into something that literally stopped him right in his tracks. Damn! That looks just like a trailer used to carry a dragster around, he thought to himself. Another step and he heard voices and the familiar clanking sound of wrenches. And there it was, sitting in the parking slot next to the trailer. One beautiful black AA/FD with ten- gallon oil drums under the shiny spoke front wheels raising it just enough so the guys could work underneath it.
But that wasn't all! There were four, five, maybe six other dragsters in the lot undergoing various degrees of maintenance from minor to major. And that count didn't include the others on open or in enclosed trailers that were just sitting there.
Remember that part about skipping a real Honeymoon? Well, they (actually more like he) did have plans for the day after the wedding, though. There was a meet over at the old Austin Raceway Park featuring The Texas Pro Fuel circuit, a group that at times boasted up to forty AA/FD's on its roster. Co-incidentally, Austin Raceway wasn't located all that far from Georgetown.
As his eyes scanned the parking lot, he saw the ice machine. So he went right over and placed the ice container right on top of it, then turned and resumed checking out the potpourri of quarter mile combatants. With names like Vance Hunt, Havoc, Carroll Brothers, Crietz and Greer, Boyd and Griffith, Anderson Brothers/Rightsell, Paul Prichett sitting here at the motel, he knew Sunday's meeting was indeed gonna' be righteous. He even spent time chatting with some of the gathered racers as they worked on their race cars or, like him, just stood and watched in the darkness
Yep…darkness! It really had been that long since he'd left the room, so he hurried back to their room having completed his chore of gathering ice.
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