A Classy Ford Fairlane

Last week, I stopped at a service centre along Highway 401 just west of London when I spied a small crowd of old guys admiring this 1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria in the parking lot. I took a bunch of photos and eventually was approached by the owner, a man who lives near a village called Rodney, not far from London. He told me the story of his vehicle. He bought a car just like the one pictured here, brand new, in 1955. But after a few years he sold it to someone who really wanted it. He regretted that decision and 30 years ago he was able to replace his first car with the one pictured here. One unique feature of the classy car is that the front half of the roof is made of glass. The front licence plate is a clue to the car’s history” HAD 1B4.

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Oh Those Stupid Races

By Jim Hagarty
2014

Well isn’t that cute, I thought. One of the horses in the race we were betting on was called You Can’t Fix Stupid. Six of us former journalism teachers were sitting around a monitor and looking out the big windows at the racetrack, following the excitement and checking our tickets after every race. We had each thrown $20 in a pot and when that was gone, we’d quit betting. This night, we were doing pretty well. In fact, by Race 5 we were up almost $500.

I’m new to this but nevertheless I was sent up to place our bets for Race 6. I took some money, approached the wicket and carefully placed $24 worth of $2 bets. When the race was over, there was great rejoicing at our table. We had won $499.80.

OMG we’ve made a thousand dollars tonight went the shouts and there were still six races to go.

One of the other teachers grabbed the winning ticket and went to the wicket to collect. He was there a long time and he seemed to be almost arguing with one of the women there. I suggested helpfully that maybe she didn’t have enough cash to pay us. Someone else said he looked like he was negotiating with the clerk. Finally, he turned and came back to the table with a disgusted look on his face. He tossed the ticket on the table in front of me. “You bet on the wrong race,” he said to me.

It was quiet on the way home, all of us in the car. The only thing that saved me at all was the fact that our winning streak carried on for the rest of the night and we ended up ahead $800. Nevertheless, there was some suggestion made that I would be left in a cornfield somewhere and the words “hide the body” were also spoken but I am not sure what that was all about. I didn’t want to know.

All I do know for sure is You Can’t Fix Stupid didn’t win, place or show, and I felt badly for him as he and I seemed to be kindred spirits that night.

Cleaned Up Good

By Jim Hagarty
2013

Picked up the phone just now.

How are you sir? Don’t understand, don’t understand, $120, don’t understand, flat rate, don’t understand, guaranteed, don’t understand, don’t understand, don’t understand, limited time offer, don’t understand, no hidden fees, don’t understand, when would you like us to start?

Never, I guess, because I do not speak whatever language you are speaking and as a result, I really don’t know what you are selling. Duct cleaning, carpet cleaning, tractor cleaning – not quite sure. I think you want to clean something.

Sorry.

Friendly guy not so friendly any more. Click.

Now, what was I doing with my life when I was so rudely interrupted? Oh yeah, I was cleaning the floor.

My Morning Protein Drink

By Jim Hagarty
2017

We face many decisions in life. Halfway through the best takeout coffee I’ve had in weeks, sitting under my favourite shade tree, I notice a dead fruit fly floating on top of the brown elixir. Curses. Try several times to scoop it out with my finger but succeed only in driving it down into the liquid, never to be seen again. Finish my drink or throw it out? Now I have to swallow a spider to catch the fly.

Deal of a Lifetime

By Jim Hagarty
2012

I bought a new, big, black, plastic garbage can to put out at the street every week. Thirty dollars or so.

Today I noticed, as I was removing a sticker from it, that it has a lifetime warranty. Really? I am 61 now. When I am 91 and the thing falls apart as I drag it out to the curb, will I really contact somebody about it to get my money back? The store I bought it at will probably be gone by then. Maybe even the company that made it.

So how much time am I going to be able to spend by then tracking down the people who promised to replace my garbage can if it breaks? And it will break because plastic left outside eventually becomes brittle and cracks. And with our garbage pickup guys treating it like they were roping a bull at a rodeo, its lifespan will be limited for sure.

So why print “lifetime warranty” on this thing when everyone knows that except for the first few months maybe, those words hold absolutely no meaning? It would have been just as true to have put “free food for the next 50 years” on it.

At least that promise I might try to collect on.

The 1964 Mercury Montclair

I saw this lovely 1964 Mercury Montclair in a parking lot at a muffler shop near my home in Stratford, Ontario, Canada recently. One unique feature of this semi-luxury car was the back window, the middle section of which rolled down. Mercury was part of Ford’s lineup of cars back then and it was always a step up from the basic Ford lines. I don’t believe Mercury even exists as a brand these days. – JH

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The Tables Have Turned

By Jim Hagarty
2012

I went for my daily walk yesterday morning and had a few things on my mind. I can’t remember what things, exactly, but I know one thing that I wasn’t thinking about when I left the house. I had absolutely no plan to get more furniture for the rec room.

Along the streets I walked, turned a corner and there they were: Four, perfectly good, solid wooden TV tables, all standing in a wooden case. Interesting. As I was looking them over, Frank, the crossing guard, who was sitting in his car nearby, said, “If you want ’em you better take them ’cause I’m going to throw them in my trunk when my shift is over.”

“You can have them,” I said, nervously.

Then I continued my walk, and this thought began to obsess me. I had to have those tables. Had to. The thought that Frank was going to get them started driving me crazy. As I walked, I pictured two futures: one with the tables and one without and believe me, the one that included those tables was much preferable to the one without.

I picked up my pace and was practically running by the time I hit my driveway. I ran into the house, grabbed my keys, drove the van like crazy over to the street with the tables and raced down there. Frank’s car was still there, but he wasn’t inside. I couldn’t see, couldn’t see, are they, what is that?

YES!

No one anywhere on Earth at that moment was happier than I was as I loaded them into the van. Funny how something I didn’t even know existed 10 minutes before became the whole focus of my existence until they were safely tucked away in my garage.

Next year, they’ll be sitting out at our curb with a “free” sign on them.

I bet Frank comes by and gets them. I just bet he does.