Monday, April 11, 2011

Chrome in the Park

The sun rose on Sunday and the day became a fine, summer-like event. Saturday wasn't bad, with temps in the 60s F., but on Sunday they shot right past 80°. (Today we were back down 20 degrees.) Just going outside yesterday was a pleasure. The wind kicked up sometimes, but it was a warm wind, visiting like an old friend you haven't seen in years.

The thing to do was go somewhere and walk around. We picked Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry County, Illinois, a section of land that's a relic of the last Ice Age, as the name suggests. A nature walk, as nature starts to awaken from winter.

In the parking lot of the visitors center, I spotted another relic of a bygone time. A manmade relic, in this case.

I didn't know what year this stylish machine had rolled off the lines. I'm not enough of an auto expert to have known that, standing there next to it. But I have a library on my desk, and using that and the photo I took, I tried to pinpoint it just now. Could it be that it isn't just an 50s-vintage Olds Super 88, but a '58?

Look at all that chrome. It looks just like this. Then again, Wiki is one thing, and I couldn't quite confirm it at a web site devoted exclusively to the '58 Olds. Still, how often do you see that much chrome in one place? A whole chapter in the imaginary coffee-table book my brother Jay dreamed up -- The Grandeur That Was Chrome -- could be devoted to the '58 Olds.

The car was in such good shape I that I suspected that Doc Brown had fitted it with a flux capacitor and driven here from the late '50s. That or a serious enthusiast owns the thing, and takes it out for drives on summer-like days. The owner wasn't around, or I could have asked him about the car. I'm sure he would have told me, maybe in loving detail.

Across the parking I saw another relic of the past. I had to take a picture of it, too. One of these days, maybe in my lifetime, the only public phones in this country are going to be displays at the Smithsonian and the Henry Ford Museum.

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