(Part of Chapter 1, The Greatest Years of Rock and Roll.)
June day, mideastern Kansas, bright day, big blue sky and cottonball clouds; flatland-straight two-lane highway, 1:40 and Jack on the road since 7:30 that morning. Missouri hours behind, and yesterday traveling north through Arkansas before Missouri, just driving.
Ahead? Oklahoma south, Colorado west. Oklahoma flat as Kansas in places, dusty as West Texas in other places. The mountains west -- Rocky Mountains -- the main goal after the Mississippi River and Missouri River for wagon trains of farmers and merchants and seekers of gold or silver way back when, forgetters of lives left behind, lives that counted no longer, because East was the past. The future was West, young man.
And young woman.
Yess, young woman, in an olivegreen 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible, even from half a mile behind Jack can tell make and model of the car and blonde hair blowing in the wind, the GTO really looking fine, not piddling down the highway, but not as fast as Jack’s pickup, either, and he swings into the left lane, slows when alongside the GTO.
Yes, young woman. Fiiine looking woman, white pullover shirt with short sleeves and white shorts, probably white sox and white sneakers, too, but her feet are hidden by the door and beneath the dash. Long legs tanned, and the girl sits on a white towel on the white leather seat, hot leather from the afternoon sun.
Jack smiles. The girl doesn’t look up, she’s used to men passing the GTO, men who smile or leer, and she never looks up. The girl wears dark sunglasses with silver rims. Her eyes are blue or green, probably, maybe gray, and her hair tied in back with a black ribbon.
Jack bumps up the pickup and passes the GTO, turns on the signal light, eeeases back into the right lane, checks the GTO in the rearview and watches until the car is only a small green dot.
Jack is running a 409 in the pickup, saved his pennies and his dimes, Holley 4-barrel now, original straight-six and three-speed column shifter long gone, now a Craig four-speed, heavier shocks, new flywheel and driveshaft and axle, tires a bit larger than standard, and chrome wheels. All in all, a fine looking 1963 C-10, metalflake green.
Jack smiles at the mirror, not too disappointed the GTO girl never looked up.