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25 Years Ago – Summer 1994

Rides of Joy

By Barbara Feinman

“I kind of feel sorry for you,” my neighbor said to me. Her husband was underneath my house, trying to turn off the water. We were huddled in the kitchen by the stove, trying to pretend the house wasn’t freezing. It was the middle of winter and another pipe had frozen and burst. We could hear rushing water below the floorboards.

“I mean, here you decide to move out to the country and we have the coldest winter in … well, EVER” She tried to hold back a giggle, but it was too late. I started to hum my favorite Billie Holiday song, “Everything Happens to Me.

It had seemed like a good idea back in October. Give up my apartment in Washington and move out to the country for six months or so. My siblings and I own an old captain’s house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, along a river that feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. I’d go live in the house (nearly 200 years old) and write. That’s what writers do, I told myself; they move out to the country, and they think, and they watch the birds, and they hoe beans, and they write. You know, Walden and Henry David Thoreau and all that. I would do the zen thing. No more honking cars, only honking geese. No more sirens in the night. It sounded idyllic.

That was before the ice storms, the snow-storms, the frozen pipes, the burst pipes, the electricity (and heat) cutting off overnight, the tree blowing down, more snowstorms, the wild bird coming down the chimney and flying madly around (and then dying under my bed) … And to top it all off, my Miata wasn’t in its element, to say the least. It was the first garaged winter of its pampered four-year

existence. My driveway’s slight incline made any amount of snowfall a considerable obstacle. Part of my daily January routine became trying to dig my car out, wheels spinning, snow spraying. The neighborhood kids, liberate from school by the weather, would look up when they heard me cursing. The hill in front of my house, which overlooks Blackbird Marsh, was the perfect toboggan run.

“Come on,” one of them would invariably say, abandoning his Flexible Flyer. “Let’s go push her out again.” The good news was that while my little car with its rear wheel drive didn’t fare so well in the snow, it was light enough for four medium-sized kids to rescue with relative ease. Each day I would skid around town, coming home with groceries, the news-paper and a bag of cookies for the sledders. I would invent errands — my cabin fever increasing exponentially.

At first I told concerned friends from the city who called that I “felt like a pioneer, that it was a real adventure.” But as the days turned to weeks and fresh snow kept falling, I grew less enthralled. About that time, I began to covet every four wheel drive vehicle that drove past my house. But I couldn’t afford two cars, and I could never do the unthinkable…

‘Spring is only thirty-nine days away,’ I would tell myself; looking out at the frozen marsh. But somewhere deep within my soul I feared that Spring just wouldn’t happen, that some-how it would just bypass us this year altogether. My little blue car sat patiently in the driveway, covered with ice and snow, and I would shiver with empathy, obsessively imagining it with its top down. I would picture putting the top down, zipping around the back roads. It seemed three million light years away.

Three months later. There I sat in front of my computer, putting the finishing touches on a project which had completely consumed me for the last month. As I stood up from the desk I realized it was a Friday night and I had nothing to do. I felt like celebrating, but all my friends were seventy miles away. I didn’t want to drink alone. But I had to do something more exciting than laundry to mark the end of this thing. I looked out the window absently. Of course! I’d go for a drive, put the top down and head for the hills — exactly what I had fantasized about all winter.

Dusk was approaching. It was the kind of perfect day where the breeze is light, the sun feels sweet against your skin.

I made my way over the wooden bridge and on toward Spaniard’s Neck, a long, windy, lush two-lane road where you rarely encountered another car, much less a police cruiser with radar. My joy rides usually

take the same route: Spaniard’s Neck to Conquest Farm. Conquest Farm is a private estate, with a long imposing driveway and vast rolling fields. To one side there stands a huge sort of barn-warehouse, filled with pigeons. I’ve never figured out what the pigeons are for. Sometimes I imagine they are carrier pigeons, trained in delivering mes-sages to star-crossed lovers. Probably not.

Across the road is a locked gate leading to Conquest Beach, which I’ve never had the nerve to climb over and explore. The view from the road is awesome enough – a beautiful, majestic vista of the river.

As I came around the bend and could see the farm in the distance, I noticed something ahead of me. I slowed down and realized it was two deer, sprinting across the road. I got closer and then cut off the engine. The deer looked at me and I looked back, realizing they were part of a large herd. I started to count: one, two, three, four, five … oh no, I thought, there are thirteen! I am horribly, excessively superstitious. Thirteen deer was a bad omen I started to recount. And then, from behind the trees, came ten more deer. Twenty-three, my lucky number! The day on which I was born. I sat. there in silence, watching the deer graze, feeling like I was on safari. They seemed unfazed by me, or the Miata, and they roamed around the field languidly. The breeze rolled in across the dashboard, there were crows cawing in the distance. The sun was beginning to set across the river.

I thought of Thoreau. His two years and two months at Walden Pond were filled with moments like these. Okay, so he didn’t drive around in a Miata, or approve of material things at all, but I’d like to think that if Thoreau had been there with me he wouldn’t have eschewed a spin in my little car. It had transcended its material worth for a moment; somehow it had led me there — reaping a chance meeting with twenty-three deer on a perfect spring evening.

Copyright 1994, Miata Magazine. Reprinted without permission.


2019 Peach Parade Report

Members Attending: Stacey & Cindy Timmerman, Sarah Acord, Larry & Rita Garner, Margie & Bill Vandermaas, Dennis & Karol Mason, Brian & Donna Bogardus and Glenn Link.

We had 7 cars parked out front of the Airport Grill for breakfast. The 12 of us did as usual and made ourselves at home by rearranging the furniture to line up about 4 tables in a row to eat at. Our orders were taken in the semi-random order of our arrival and the food was delivered in a different semi-random order which was in no relation to when the orders were placed. But, as always, this is not a problem for the Club because the conversation and flowing coffee kept us entertained. The inexpensive and delicious food, plus the capability of the folks there to put up with us, places the Airport Grill at the top of the Masters Miata Club’s Mom & Pop Breakfast spots. Glen and the Garners had other commitments, so they did not join us after breakfast for the drive or the parade.

Stacey had plotted out a different loop for this year’s pre-parade drive and at first it seemed like we were just heading straight to the parade start, only to pass right through the cute little town of Trenton and head east and who knows what other direction to zip around among the local peach orchards. Even though I’m familiar to a lot of roads in the area there were at least a few times I though we turned the wrong way. The Vandermaases probably knew where there were the whole time because at one point we drove right by their house. He ended our drive at the usual Ebenezer Church so we could find out our place in the parade line up. At this point, Sarah parted ways with us to head back home.

Even though Stacey was in communication with the organizers, when he asked our line up number we weren’t on the list. It was determined that they would just add us to the end of the parade. They did have mercy on us though as they vowed to put us at least in front of the horses… Even though we caught a break with the weather, it was only in the 80’s as opposed to the typical 90’s, Donna and I ran our A/C along the 9/10 of a mile route. For all you statistic junkies out there it took us just less than an hour to drive the parade, so our average speed was pretty close 1.0 MPH. During the trip we never left 1st gear, I depressed the clutch pedal roughly 3.8 millions times and we tossed 8 pounds of candy to an adoring crowd.

Afterwards we all found a place to park and headed into the fray of people, port-a-potties, speakers, bands, food vendors and craft booths.

June 2019 Meeting Minutes

When: June 6th, 2019

Where: Apizza di Napoli then Pot Smoker BBQ, Aiken

Who: Brian and Donna Bogardus, Don and Kay Boltz, Mike and Shirley Dyer, Brenda Hays, Glen and Deb Link, Dennis and Karol Mason, Bill and Margie Vandermass (new members), Rolf and Annie Wilms, and Dave and Sue Woomer.

Thanks to Dennis for planning this dinner meeting but with Apizza di Napoli closed (due to a death in the family) Mr. President decided to meet in the parking lot and decide where to go from there.  We held a quick meeting there in the parking lot then headed across the street to Pot Smoker BBQ, which was busy and tasty as usual.

Treasurer’s Report: The balance started at $1056.91, and added $20 in dues (Darr & Acord), and deducted $50 for flowers for Rita’s Mom, ending balance is $1026.91.

Club Business:

  • The Trenton Peach Parade will occur on June 15th, and we plan to meet at the Airport Grill (address below) and see what kind of turnout we get and decide if we will go from there.  Bring candy to throw to the kids in case we have enough show and decide to participate.  Hope to see you there!
  • There will be no dinner meeting for July since the first Thursday falls on the 4th.
  • We have nothing planned for the July breakfast/drive – anyone want to volunteer to do anything?
  • Dues for this year are past due! Thanks to those who have paid. If you have not, please prepare to contribute at the next meeting, and see Mike Dyer to pay them. Thank you for your support!
  • Please remember to RSVP to our events – it makes it difficult for the planner if we don’t know how many will show – especially for smaller venues.  Your RSVP is greatly appreciated, so please don’t forget.


  • See Dennis Mason for name tags, if you so desire.
  • Club merchandise is available: Pins are $3 each; “Support Vehicle” car magnets are $25 per pair, canvas tote/shopping bag $20 each. The 3” window stickers have come in and are available now.
  • Coffee mugs and other items are available from http://www.cafepress.com/masters_miata
  • Communigraphics in North Augusta has our logo, for $8 you can have it embroidered on just about anything.

Upcoming calendar events:

15 June Trenton Peach Parade with breakfast at Airport Grill (where we will meet) –

1301 Bettis Academy Rd. Trenton, SC

Stacey Timmerman
20 July Breakfast/Drive – TBD Any takers?
1 Aug Dinner meeting – Shirley suggested Ferrando’s in Aiken
TBD August Bug Splat Brian & Donna Bogardus
1-3 Nov Deals Gap trip Brian & Donna Bogardus