Life’s a TRip, Episode 3

By Ojijaak


It is best practice for storytellers to have a clear concept – an outline, at least – of their stories before starting to tell them. I thought that I did. At least up to the point that we would start to explore, and that is a story unto itself, I thought that we would proceed in a more or less straightforward way. There would be periodic Polly updates, later perhaps a few glimpses of my relatively boring trip to Tipp City for the reveal, maybe a bit of reminiscence of youth, and some British car history.

Then, life happened. Here and there just small deviations from my intended path. Still, the early plot has been altered. As a result, this episode will read a bit more disjointedly than usual.

It was a sunny, fairly warm Sunday. At least after my juice and coffee (a shot in the dark, please), which is my version of a large breakfast, it seemed warm. I went to my garage and, thinking that I could open the door fully without damaging the brass monkey, I started Annie. She could sit there, rumbling pleasantly until she was thoroughly warmed through her radiator and sump, at least.

Looking to the utility door to the kitchen, I saw Nokomis wearing that tipped head, ear cocked expression that dogs exhibit when they want you to think that they have no idea what you are doing, but could they please help? The noise of Annie starting and settling uneasily to something resembling an idle is not subtle enough by a mile to escape Nokomis. She loves Annie even more than she loves a ride in Tojo, my daily driver. Well, what the hell?

Maybe it was just too nice a day to waste. Lower the top, stow the car cover, pull on a light jacket, check tires, shut down the engine for a few minutes to check fluid levels. Don’t forget the carburetor dashpots! The idling starts and uncommon three- or four-mile drives through the winter have left the dashpots a tad low: top up.

And we’re off, in a cloud of horseshit! This was an unplanned trip, so I did not pack cameras – sorry. I had only the camera function on my phone, so that is what you will see if you choose to watch. The cool temperature will be confirmed when you see Nokomis sitting in your seat. On warmer days, she puts her nose over the windscreen or tucks it between the wing window and the mirror.


Up and up, into the mountains. Did I mention sun and warm temperatures? Forget about that. Up here, less than ten miles from our warm home, there is still snow – lots of snow – on the ground. Other than getting Annie some exercise after semi-hibernation, this little ride was not the best idea that I have had lately.

A metaphor, perhaps. The farther I have traveled from my poor decisions, the colder my world has grown. Still, the open road in an open car is an experience not to be missed. Add some hills and curves and you come very close to what my perfect afterlife would be. I will pack a sweatshirt, though.

That’s Annie’s story so far this spring. The weather is slowly improving down here on the high desert floor, so another outing may not be far away.

Then there is Polly…closer each day to her first drives in Ohio and her completion. I mentioned before that I have been trying to track Polly through her first sale. In the end, having no luck otherwise, I reluctantly sent an email to her previous owner. I am glad that I did.

Graciously, Polly’s PO responded to my inquiry. He was not her first owner, and I had not thought that he was; at best, he was the second owner, but it was he who had commissioned her first restoration in 1997. More to the point, though, was that at the time of his purchase, Polly had come from Calgary.

It seems that I had been searching for a bright yellow needle in the wrong haystack. It is his belief that Polly had spent some part of her early years as a daily driver. That would be tough duty in the frozen north country, but, given the extremely cold temperatures in Alberta, salt is not effective on frozen roadways, and hence, is not used. In other words, when Polly was twenty-two years on the road, she was still largely without the scars of corrosion to which many of her siblings succumbed. She was worthy of a full restoration, and she was in the hands of a caring owner who provided it.

For me, the most interesting detail of Polly’s past that the PO revealed was that she (he referred to her as his “canary yellow Triumph”) was the car in which his bride left the church in her wedding dress. Well…why not? He went on to say that he was that much of a Triumph nut. No harm, we all are.

I took another look at Polly’s pictures. In her byline above is a frontal portrait. You may not have looked closely, so it is reproduced here in greater detail. Use your imagination, maybe squint your eyes a bit; do you not see a smile on her “face?” She looks happy.

Yellow Triumph
A happy Polly.

I was also reminded of why Polly, the college friend for whom the car is named, said that she liked yellow. She said that yellow is a “happy color.” I shall keep that in mind when we start our TRip. I will see Polly’s pigment in a new light. I hope.

I have been in weddings. I do not recall smiling as broadly as Polly appears to. Certainly, any smile that I wore was not as long-lasting as Polly’s. Those are different stories, though, and we will not pursue them further.

Currently, Polly is closer to her completion. Her new glass is ordered. Ditto her new interior. Her new dashboard has been at Macy’s Garage for months. Each new group of pictures creates more excitement for me; perhaps my smile resembles Polly’s as I view them. Having seen cars at Macy’s Garage in their final stages of completion, I can imagine how beautiful she looks. The cars that I have seen there can only be described as stunning. As good as the photos are, and as welcome when they arrive, they fall short of standing in that garage looking at the result of months of hard work. For gearheads, whether Triumph or LBC, or just plain car geeks, you really owe it to yourself to see a Macy Triumph.

To recap this episode, you have learned that Annie is alive and well, Nokomis, who is getting older, is not a fan of cold weather, open car touring, and that I can act precipitously from time to time. Polly is the most fortunate of all. She has kept her youthowing to good fortune and a caring owner. She is still smiling, still wearing her happy color, and she will continue to do so long after I am gone.

Are you packed? At the least, is your wardrobe sorted? We will be on the road in just over two months. If you’re late, you’re walking.


Random thought of the episode:

The following may contain material that is offensive to intellectually challenged readers. Discretion is advised.

Let’s get this out of the way:  Both of my families have been Republicans since at least 1860. Even earlier, my paternal forebears voted for John C. Fremont in 1856, and a permanent split in that family in the post-Civil War years resulted from theelection of one brother to a county office as a Democrat. My grandfather grew up not knowing his uncle or cousins. No kidding. Subsequent generations, including my own, have been more pragmatic.

The Republican Party is dead. There are just two of us left, Mitt Romney and me. While I do not always agree with Senator Romney, he has at least shown that he has the balls to describe Dirty Donnie as pervasively dishonest and as being responsible for what Romney termed “misdirection.” The Senator is most genteel in his characterization. I am less constrained. Donnie is filth, but to say that insults filth. I am grateful to a loving Creator for sparing my parents and grandparents from witnessing this shit show.

So…where are the rest of you “leadership” sonsofbitches? Were I a Senator or a Congressman, God forbid, I would prefer to be trounced in a re-election bid than to sell my soul to the Trump-bots. The Republican Party is dead; you now have Democrats, Trumpists, and only two Republicans, at least one of whom has not and never will cast a ballot for Dirty Donnie Drumpf.


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