Off to Valhalla, Home of ‘Vern’s Vehement Vehicles’….in my Vauxhall.

Note: I persist for now in posting these bi-directional creations (‘PALs’) not from any illusion that they are the next ‘War and Peace’, (though a perfect one, I dream, could help to prevent the former), but because they always inspire deeper thoughts, and research in sadly-overlooked corners of knowledge.
If an over-paid motivational speaker can make mega-bucks telling executives: “Always ask yourself, in board meetings, where a giraffe fits into the picture!” well, I got plenty of giraffes to Google lately. Oh, and snakes.  Meanwhile, this one is more down-to-earth. (Except being 80% fictional. Hey, my ‘real life’ lacks circus animals, sue me.
PA Route 22; far enough east of Pittsburgh that the locals haven’t yet decided whether they’re cowboys.
Whatever they are, ‘Laverne’ Hollyfield is a real piece of work!
Owner, chief (only?) mechanic, he sits there at a greasy desk ‘between jobs’. That is to say ‘most of the time‘.
In the 60s we used to call him ‘VHF’, for ‘Very Frequently High’. Nowadays, ‘Vertigo Vern’ is the more common nickname. His frequent ‘lost in space’ episodes are a legend; you can be discussing ring ODs, glance down, and find him holding a piston-ring in two outstretched hands, staring through the thing with an infinite-focus, transfixed gaze.
“Just goes on and on,” he mutters. “Internal!”
“Eternal?“, you offer, helpfully.
“No, I meant ‘external”   he snaps, gruffly, and, back home safely, adds “Yeah, .’.20 over’s a safe compromise, after I bore the cylinders.”
‘Welcome back, cadet’, you say to yourself.

Hey, it’s genetic. His twin daughters, Gwendalynn and Mandolin both show early, but unmistakable signs of the same chromosomes.
Right next door, they run ‘Vox-haul Audio Inc.’ The sign, once illuminated, until the ‘Winter of ’94’ (or the Johnston Flood?) boasts: ‘Loud Speakers: When you need your Voice to Carry!’
I greet them with warm, yet careful, hugs, then ask ‘Where’s Monte?’
Frank Montecello, the real reason I’d braved the cold without a heater in the old Vaux, was supposed to meet me here. A retired elementary-school teacher, he had ‘pull’ up at the ‘Epson Center’ on the hill coming into town, there near the giant ‘Valhalla, Home of the Gods’ sign we’d all used to confirm, to our dazed ‘Bacon sizzling in a skillet’ minds-on-drugs’ that, yup, we’d made it home. For now…
Cello’ was actually waiting, drinking coffee, in a back-room. Glad I hadn’t called him ‘that old fart’.
And at least he remembered why I was there.
But first, a ‘pop-quiz’? Seems like he’s kinda ‘having what I’m having’. Lately, and frustratingly, I remember only the skeletons and routines of past events.
And so I patiently complied with his impromptu 2nd-grade spelling test, perhaps expecting a hilarious joke as a punch line:
“Spell HAT” he demanded.Followed by ‘BAT‘, then the tough one:’ CAT’. Think I got at least a ‘B’, but, for my efforts, I then learned mainly that he’d quit working up there. And in a huff.
Bummer. I’d have to change clothes somewhere and talk to ’em myself.
Meanwhile I jotted down in my diary:
So I’m now thinking to stay on my side of the Susquehanna River.

Still I wish em all the best, ‘out west’. Probably something in the water there. And with the EPA slated for de-funding, it’ll be even more ‘entertaining’ to visit next trip.

And here is the ‘correct’ text: Thanks, Tim for the proof-reading. Mine is apparently ’80 Proof’, ha



11 thoughts on “Off to Valhalla, Home of ‘Vern’s Vehement Vehicles’….in my Vauxhall.

  1. promisesunshine

    Toomey thinks DeVros is an excellent choice for Education. So we’ll be spelling “hat” for a while. And, per your excerpt, we’ll be drinking who knows what out of the usual leaky water fountain.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Yeah, if education is the key to progress, she is basically Krazy Glue stuck in the lock.
      I myself also have no idea how to actually fix flaws in the US academic system….which is why I was also short-listed for the job(!). I lost out because of the damn ‘means-test’ . I have none.
      (Oh, and I thought of you the whole way through writing this one. Happy to see you here)

      1. promisesunshine

        I thank you for thinking of me. I thought of you the whole time I read it.
        Of course I don’t know how to fix the flaws either. I do have one or two general thoughts. I read something recently about Canada’s educational system, in which the goal seems to be providing education for everyone.
        I lived and (briefly) did some substitute teaching in a county in Maryland. School districts are by county. The one I worked in extended from just inside the beltway to the wealthy burbs. I can assure you the schools were outfitted and staffed differently.
        I must become one with the holiday spirit now. Or perhaps after another cup of coffee.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Thanks, Duncan: not a bad pair of ‘V-2’s. ‘Truthiness’, it was called, facetiously, until recently, when ‘faux facts upended the card-table of serious discourse.
      I have spent numerous ‘billable’ (to whom?) bewildered hours in the above locale, which makes writing about it a simple victory-lap down memory lane.

        1. solberg73 Post author

          By now, it’s no mere coincidence, ha.
          But frankly, I’d have to sit and think hard; there was a ‘small car’ phase; Sunbeam Alpines, Triumphs, and my fav; ‘MG-B’s. I took the mandated design-changes hard: the ’67 drove me home while unconscious, the ’73 seemingly headed by itself for some ’emissions-standards’ inspection point. Among other ‘improvements’, like the missing toggle switches which had made me feel more like a ‘pilot ‘ than a ‘car-driver’.
          Before then,Bewildered in Boston, I dimly recall buying an Austin Mini-something, then promptly parking it somewhere in Roxbury I never found again. Fifty buck and two days on foot gone to waste.
          I’ll now ‘feign automotive literacy’ by Googling your current love-interest, respecting your consumer-savvy blind-folded.
          And somehow, I doubt I chose Vauxhall for this post purely at random. Luckily for me, this spooky Esp inspirational ‘bleed-thru’ is for now all to the good. But once one abandons ‘hard-science’, channeling Atilla-the-Hun becomes equally likely. Oy.

          1. solberg73 Post author

            Ok, nice car: (don’t let Vern try to work on it.)
            The UK site likes its ‘boot space’. Ha, my Ford Fiestas came with two(2) ‘boots’ for when the ‘victim’ tried to drive it thru more than 5 cm. of a puddle.
            Wondering what engine you chose? As a child of the 300 HP+ – ‘petrol too cheap to meter’ 60’s, my knee-jerk is ‘bigger is better’.
            Anyway, great to see the vehicle which presumably carries two dogs, tents, a photogenic child-model plus her dear mum ‘n dad to Stonehenge and back. I’d often wondered whether you drove to these destinations.. or simply rented a chopper.

  2. Roadkill Spatula

    More lacunae, in this case the “ah” from “Allah lav”, which perhaps you avoided because suggesting that the Almighty uses the loo could get you stoned by more than one group over there. Or maybe you were stoned already?

    Sorry, I’m a proofreader by nature.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Ah ha. Or, as we of all stripes say here, Ya Allah!!. A substitute for ‘Good God!’ roughly. I’ll fix it presently, with a note.
      Btw, do check a few posts back for the one you star in.


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