My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Burnin' Rubber


Okay, some hoodlum “laid a patch” all the way down the road in front of this Amish farm!…  Who would do such a thing??  Ummm… that would be my husband Gary.

It all started when I gave a lift to an Amish acquaintance named Galen, for whom I’d done a genealogy pedigree chart the previous year.  (Amish genealogy is a passion of mine.)

While Galen and I were driving through the countryside to Nappanee, my phone rang.  It was my husband – so there was a roaring engine sound effect and a photo of his street rod on my dashboard display screen.

That got the two of us talking… 

You’d be surprised how many of Amishmen had a car or truck when they were young, before putting rumspringen behind them and joining church.  Some of them still maintain an interest and a knowledge of all things vehicular.  Galen said how much he’d like to see that car someday, and I told him I’d talk to my husband about bringing it over.

Several months went by, and we didn’t get around to following up on it—until a phone message from Galen reminded us that he hadn’t forgotten!  So, one evening Gary fired up the hot rod—a reproduction 1932 Ford 3-window coupe that’s been “upgraded” to a nostalgia drag racing car.We roared out there and pulled in the driveway, and there was Galen with five or ten members of his clan, sitting on the front porch or hanging around nearby.  This was a big deal to them!

Gary answered some questions and then fired it up.  He gave a nice long ride to Galen first, and we could hear them ripping down a nearby road!  That was followed by rides for some of the sons and grandsons.  (The girls were nowhere to be seen, other than Galen’s wife, who was content to watch the action from the porch.)

After we were done, we pulled back out onto the road.  Gary came to a stop, and I knew what was next—I’ve been a hot rodder’s wife for fourteen years now.  Gary did a screaming, roaring smoky burnout that then turned into what hot rodders call “laying a patch” of rubber in two ribbons down the road.

We happened to drop by a few days later and I took the picture above of the two ribbons of burnt rubber on the road.  Galen said after we left, his son paced out the tire marks on the road, and they were 120 feet long!  He also said that the cloud of smoke wafted from the road over the pastures and didn’t dissipate the rest of the evening.  But as he pointed out to Gary, “It did keep the mosquitoes away.”

Gary has taken other Amish friends for a ride in his street rod—unlike most drag cars, it has a passenger seat and lots of safety equipment, and so it’s a street-legal car.  When cultures collide, it can be a lot of fun!

 *** below, a video of Gary racing at a drag strip ***

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