Sunday, April 24, 2005

Nascar And Snow Don't Mix [Exclusive]

Well here I am the day after the big day and I am proud to say the weatherman just didn’t read that cricket correctly. Or maybe the problem is that he didn’t use a cricket. You see up here that cricket ain’t had time to come out of its winter resting place. Oh yes, it did spit and sputter frozen stuff. But when I peered outside this morning it seems we only got a dusting. That is good news. But this is the end of April! Folks it just ain’t right.

Yesterday was loads of fun at the plant. We were wildly banging away on our terminal trying to convince the machines of the proper way to make the mix when everything just suddenly went dark as a ride on the river with a new moon. Back home on the Tennessee River it got pretty dark on nights of the new moon. You just eased down the river hoping you were going where you thought you were going. Of course all we had was a 20 ft. flat bottom boat with a 20 hP Johnson shoving us along. We did have a couple of battery operated running lights so hopefully one of those big barges didn’t churn us up into sushi (yep, we know about people eating raw fish and stuff as crazy as they are). Oh, back to the machines. All of our programming machines had checked out for the day and it was suddenly deafly quite. Knowing that most of these machines don’t take kindly to having their regular ration of energy interrupted we feared the worst. You see we have one of those “uninterruptible” power supplies that is supposed to keep those machines grazing happily. Well, a little investigation led us that one of our guys had decided to interrupt the uninterruptible so a wire could be followed to its source. Now usually when this happens we have more headaches than a jack hammer operator, but in this case we got luckier than most deer on opening day of the hunting season. Once we had returned the machines to their gentle grazing for once they came up with more green lights than a race in Talladega. (By now I am assuming most of you folks are refined enough to know about one of the South’s best kept secrets, NASCAR.)

Yeah, the fine folks at NASCAR have been entertaining us folks back home almost since the days of Prohibition. You see, the original idea was to give the moonshine haulers something to do while their suppliers were cooking up another batch of their fine concoction. So they decided to find a way to demonstrate their ability to deliver quality goods on time for the best satisfaction, something the Post Office, UPS, and FedEx are still trying to figure out. The sad part of it is when all the other citizens of our fair country figured out what we were doing they wanted a piece of the action. So with the building of the raceways in California, Texas, and all around the North we see some old time greats such as Wilkesboro, North Carolina sit quietly waiting for either another moment to shine or the wrecking ball. While I lived a short while in that fair state I drove by the old track a couple of times. I swear you could still hear those engines humming with the crowds cheering on some of those old time great racers. But, as things go, the glory of the dollar has long outweighed the honor of the past. Don’t get me wrong. I still like to watch them boys give a whirl around the track. And I still whoop and holler for my favorite driver. But that doesn’t forego my respect for the fans in these rural Southern venues who built this great sport for our enjoyment.

Well we are trying to convince these wonderful self controlled machines to do their thing so I must return to the grind. Next time you sit down on that Saturday or Sunday to watch the boys give the track a whirl, remember those who brought this to you and the tracks of old who now watch the dust devils roll by along the once busy infield.