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Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016
Draggin' MainPosted Sunday, March 27, 2011, at 9:43 AM
Back in the ancient times of the late 1970's in the town of my youth, my friends and I spent a considerable amount of time draggin' main. This mean endless hours of driving back and forth and forth and back on the main drag. This meant honking and waving at the other cars of people you knew or ones that you didn't, too.
As a junior high kid, you would hear the classmates with older siblings saying what a big deal to do this.
Naturally I could not wait to be able to drag main.
My first car that was purchased by my parents (with absolutely no input from me) was a 1962 Nash Rambler. It was a three speed on the column and took a few lessons on how to drive. Needless to say they weren't easy lessons. It took a bit of coordination to find out where the gear shift needed to go and in relationship to moving the clutch and the gas peddle in the necessary order to keep moving.
However, after a bit of practice off I went. The Rambler was an 'in-town' car. It wasn't supposed to go out of town. I can't even tell you how many 'main' miles I put on that car. The 'main' miles were at lunch time as we had an open campus or it was after school, evenings or weekends.
The after school miles also included stopping to get a pop (soda to some of you). The main drag was always busy after school. During my high school years, when they were building the power plant, the main street was busy as the workers were coming and going to the plan. Shift change was about the time school was out so it might take a bit longer to drag due to the traffic volume.
Draggin' main required a horn to work in the car. Unfortunately, the Rambler had a short somewhere so every time I turned right the horn would peep. The horn was disconnected. To solve the no horn issue I purchased an obnoxious, bubble-type bike horn that could be used during warm weather. Dorky, yes, but it worked.
While out and about, sometimes my friends would take turns as to who would drive. As one of the younger ones in my group, I had a lot of catching up to do in the main miles. I had no problem volunteering to drive as I had a lot of catching up to do. It didn't cost a whole bunch at the time for gasoline. There was some sense of power in writing that first check to fill up the tank of the vehicle that represented empowerment to me.
The empowering sense was being old enough (or so I thought) to go anywhere anytime I wanted. Well, it was good theory in that teenage fantasy land because I still had to be home at a reasonable time. There wasn't supposed to be any draggin' until the homework was done. I had to also report in to where I was going and how I was going with and about what time I would be home.
As I got a bit bolder, the Rambler made a few trips out of the city limits but that was mainly out to my job. The drive-in was out of the city limits technically. There were nights I would take the long way home. It meant driving by the ball parks, getting up the big hill by the water towers and turning on 16th street to get down to the main drag. It would take a couple of trips around to see who was out and about. Then it was time to go home. I knew I could push the time a bit but knew if I pushed too much I would be walking. That would have been devastating at the time.
Draggin' may be a thing of the past due to the price of fuel today but at the time it was what I lived for.
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