Wilbur was the local auctioneer and real estate agent. One might say he had his finger on the pulse of the community. Well, except that he was using his fingers to count the money that flowed into his coffers. In short, he engaged in many enterprises.
Wilbur, known by all as "WT" always wore a white felt Stetson, always, winter and summer, spring and fall. Notwithstanding that he might be described as "portly" he dressed meticulously, was never wrinkled or spotted, and the wide ties he chose were first-cousin to the ascot.
In 1966, Oldsmobile Division of General Motors introduced a huge, heavy but sporty vehicle called "Toronado". This 5000 pound behemoth was powered by a 425 ci quadrijet carbed V-8. It was the first American-built front-wheel drive automobile produced since the demise of the Cord in 1937. WT was one of the first proud owners of a Toronado.
One sultry evening, humidity-laden air hanging heavily over the village as WT and I were standing at the curb following a Lions' meeting, I remarked that that was a beautiful wheel he was tooling around in these days. As he lovingly caressed a front fender, he went into a rhapsody of superlatives, praising his machine to the heavens. "Oh, man!" he said, "Get in; you gotta feel it." I got into the passenger seat, not really expecting to get the ride of my life. But I did. We had a seldom-used airport a mile west of town, fully equipped with a thousand-yard concrete runway. We were there in a minute and I was already semi-terrified. WT wheeled onto the runway and ripped off about a quarter mile, hit the brakes and spun a 180, hitting the accelerator again, we were seven seconds later in dead decelerating mode as he stood on the brake pedal to avoid flying through the fence onto the highway. Back down the runway at about 40, he spun the wheel to the left and shot onto the access apron. As he stopped he enthused, "Oh, man. How d'ya like that military turn?" Not so much, but I didn't say so.
© 2010 David W. Lacy