By Craig Hastings
Car shows are not for everyone but, if you were bored and had nothing else to do, then you should have been at Tuscola’s Ta’Carbon Restaurant last Saturday. (May 1) My oldest son and his friends had been talking about the show all week and been praying for good weather. The event was held in conjunction with a fundraiser for the Keli Adkisson Memorial Scholarship Fund. When I first learned of this event I wondered and worried a bit about the available space in and around the Ta’Carbon property. If there were to be an overflow of participants the only available space would be the McDonald’s restaurant parking that adjoins the Ta’Carbon property. Well, but come on Craig, with the whole COVID-19 plague going on this alone would surely keep the crowd size down to a “not many” right? Wrong! The only thing that could have made this event a bigger success would have been if The Wheels Car Club and McDonald’s had jumped on board and expanded the available space for participants. Had that happened even more overflow could have easily been absorbed by the Super 8 Motel next to McDonalds.
I’m not sure the Ta’Carbon staff and father of Keli, Brett Adkisson, who also served as event MC, had expected the turnout to be what it progressed to be. Initially the sign in was to begin at 10:00 a.m. with the event scheduled to kick off at 12:00 noon. I was up early that Saturday morning and knowing son Payton was still in bed and needing to wash his car, I decided at around 9:45 a.m. to do a drive by to check the crowd. I was shocked to see the parking lot had already begun to fill. I had decided to drive one of my cars to the event with Payton but unlike Payton I had prepared my car for the show the night before. Once home I rousted Pate out of the sack by telling him the property was beginning to fill up early. “Dad can you help me wash my car?” Well of course, no surprise here. I was nineteen once even though I still to this day like to make believe I can still be nineteen when talking cars. When we arrived I think there were just four spaces left on the property in which we took two and two cars immediately behind us took the other two. Full before the event officially kicked off! It was going to be a good day.
The weather was perfect throughout the entire four hour event. I guessed about half of the participant cars entered in the show were cars I had never seen before at any of The Wheels Car Club events. And, there were not some of the cars I do see at The Wheels Car Club shows. This was encouraging for me to see for a couple of reasons. One, The Wheels Car Club guys and gals always do an excellent job of getting participants to Tuscola themselves. Two, I’m encouraged to see that there are still many other car guys and gals in the area still interested enough to preserve old cars and wanting to show those cars of any make and model to any of us wanting to stop and take a look. The number of us old car guys and gals in the area still in love with the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s car cruising scene right here in Tuscola are few. It was a time when a person had to be here and live it to miss it today I guess. I don’t like the role that cell phones play in our day to day lives anymore. There needs to be time when “emergency only” calls are allowed in our daily lives. Cell phones need a rename to something like “tattletale device”, “cell camera”, or “text traveler”, etc. because using them for what they are named, “cell phone”, has become far from the true intended use. But…something good could have come from cell phones on past cruise nights. (which were nearly every night in the summers and clear road nights in the winters.) Had there been video recordings of the action right here in the streets and parking lots of Tuscola that could have been played back for the younger generations today, maybe, just maybe a little bit of those days could have survived here. It certainly is still going on in the larger fair weather cities throughout the country and in fact has begun to grow once again.
If you get tired of reading about me talking about old cars, Tuscola, and the way it used to be, pass my column by because it’s likely I’ll not stop until this column stops. If that day comes maybe I’ll have someone who knows how to help me set up a website where I can post. If I had my own page on the interweb I’d probably write and post more often. Back to the show. I think at the event’s end there were nearly 140 cars that had parked and participated in the show throughout the four hours. There were some pretty amazing cars that I had not seen before show up at this event. There was a 1970 Shelby GT 500 that stole the show. This car was over the top and then some. Even the Ford haters couldn’t diss this car, it was that good.
Shannon and I stayed for the entire four hour event which rarely I do in most cases where standing a long time is involved. Forgot my chairs because we were in a hurry to get a parking spot. I probably talked to more people I had never seen before than I can remember at any other car show. The weather was a major factor for this. It was absolutely perfect. It was sunny but not hot nor humid. A gentle breeze was blowing but not enough to stir the dust much. COVID-19 scare? Nope. Maybe 5 percent of the crowd wore masks but it was an outdoor event and the CDC recently stated outside and no masks in most cases was fine. These days I’m not interested much in what the CDC has to say about COVID-19. This whole topic has become the world’s worst political ping pong ball. I was extremely pleased to witness nearly all the people at the car show were enjoying the day as they would have in the spring of 2019 and years before.
I’m going to say yet again, be thankful you live in a community such as our own Tuscola because in the big picture of the COVID-19 pandemic life hasn’t changed much. We’ve moved on working together with very few confrontations over masks and the like and supported our local businesses when they’ve needed it most. If the Ta’Carbon Car Show event is a sign of what’s ahead for Tuscola and it’s citizens for the summer and fall ahead of us, then life will be good! A big thank you to the owner and staff of the Ta Carbon Restaurant for putting on an extremely successful car show, Brett Adkisson for his work as MC and his help organizing the event, and to all of those people that took the time to bring their cars and motorcycles to the show. And lastly to all of the people without cars who showed up, participated, donated, and contributed in some way to a worthy cause. Shannon and I had a great afternoon even if four hours on my feet was a killer but, I’d do it all over again every Saturday if you promise the same weather and same crowd of people. Next time though I won’t forget my chairs.
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)