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Lately the smell of clover hangs in the air and it mixes with that of salt water wafting up from Puget Sound just down the way, lingering heady and inviting. Crickets chirp, frogs croak in a rhythmic symphony and I’m thrilled it’s spring again. Summer nearly! It acts as an offset to the barbaric yelping heard by an overpopulation of teenage hooligans that congregate outside my window these days. A fair trade. Almost (actually not at all, but this shall be the glass half full version). Walking across the lawn to the stairs recently, I spied an old clunker of a car that reminds me …

A few summer’s back, I volunteered to help set up the Sunset Supper event at the Pike Place Market. In celebration of the Market’s birthday, 70-ish first class restaurants/wineries/breweries serve up their best set up buffet style out along the cobblestone for patrons to partake in a late night of al fresco dining and dancing with live music all to the benefit of local charities.

Pike Place Market Sunset

My shot of a most glorious sunset (!) from the walkway into the Market

So, I’d just pulled into a spot to park and was turning off this and that when a short, pudgy man rounded the corner near the front end of my car and proceeded to whip out his ware and water the shrubbery! Glancing at the ever present camera on my dash, I rightly thought better of it. Miffed at the unsolicited show, though, I considered driving away, but not to be shooed from my hard-won parking spot, I instead quickly exited the car, briefly stopping at the trunk to get further situated, before heading on up to the Market. That’s when it happened.

There she was, walking directly towards me in a fuzzy off-the-shoulder hot pink sweater complete with swinging fringe, leopard print mini-skirt and gold lame cowboy boots in the bright sun of the midday afternoon. What did this leggy goddess of sheer oddball delight topped off with a crazy curly red, red bob want with little me, I pondered momentarily?

She began with a large, wonderful, krinkly-eyed smile, asking if the Sea Green big daisy-hooded car was mine. I replied that “Yes, that’s Smitty!” She gave her name, Kelly Lyles, introducing herself in affiliation with Art Cars locally and nationally. I looked over then, to what surely was her very own art car. Leopard Bernstein. She then personally asked if I’d like to join in the Fremont Fair where many an art car congregates to the tune of much fanfare and broohaha. Dream 72, checked it off the list! Made my toes warm. Spent many an hour the summer between 6th and 7th grade plopped down on the library floor in the aisle containing plays and poetry perusing to my heart’s content. There I found a book on “Art Cars”. The taking of a vehicle and adding various knick-knackage and/or paint to create a themed wonder on wheels. The fascination began!

Been totally hankering for a car to tinker with again. One day, someday. Chalkboard! Wanna paint one with chalkboard paint along with attached and usable chalk for the making of many public doodles. Taking something unwanted, unattractive, out of vogue, like a Pinto say, and elevating it to a place worthy of adoration, in which it’s cared for, loved. Paraded! A thing of beauty, albeit questionably. Art cars can be thoroughly tacky, but when done well, kitschy! Where tacky meets nostalgia, its saving grace. Sadly, Smitty met his demise before he was able to attend his first official gathering. Still, he was thoroughly loved around town, receiving many a wave and wild pointing while out and about. Hooray for that!

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