Where is your "once was?"
There once was a time that I could hear a distant roar on Friday night, and smell the peppery sent of burning rubber in the air. Yells and jeers created a soundtrack every weekend from folks around town that cheered on our local race competitors. It was almost like the air was mumbling, you could hear it in 3 different counties.
It was a lifestyle. Their life. Their style.
These racing boys-to-men, telling a bit of a story through their sweat and hard work, through the fresh shine of their rides, showing off their ride-or-die waiting behind the b&w checkers. It was considered a privilege to be in the winner's circle.
But behind the motor engineering and tweaking, did these men and their communities realize they were contributing to a heartbeat?
75/80 dragway was, and oddly still is memorialized as the best quarter track this side of the Mason Dixon. I say "oddly" because, well, look at it, in shambles, broken, interwoven with arms of ivy, embracing the end of it‘s era.
Or is it the end?
Will it be revived?
Will the ivy arms finally relinquish and let the heart of the track beat again?
Well, I will tell you, in my opinion, even if the track were never to be remodeled or revived, that heart still beats stronger than ever. The revving of the Fords and GTOs all those years were enough to keep that beast‘s heart resuscitated for generations to come. It beats through stories and pictures, the physical cuts and scars that you show off to your kids and grand kids. You should be proud of those war wounds. They were a present, trust me.
Is it powerful to look at it in it's sullen disposition now, these withered portals to the past? To see a place that connected a community with more than just motor oil and Coors Light, still able to stand and remind us of it’s greatness, it’s power.
While it looks to be mangled with sticks and stones, perhaps it's a subtle reminder, strong bones can’t be broken.
When I stopped to take these pictures of this quarter mile King, I can tell you the buzz is still immense, even in it's silent state. Like ghosts of our town's past patiently waiting for the pit gates to open...
The colors still pop.
The bleachers still stand-ish.
The speakers still rise up, like a retired singer, quietly observing until the stage lights shine again.
And to see the remnants of burnt rubber tracks cuddled next to each other on the straightaway, well that was enough to give me chills.
Perhaps, one day, our “once was” lovers will resurface and rekindle.
And we’ll wait for them...
Until then, let’s give thanks for one hell of a ride!
Where is your “once was?”
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