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Friday night Okie memories

April 25, 2009

Ok, most folks who have lived near the center of OKC for any amount of time have listened to the stock car races at the state fair every Friday night. Well, now that it’s getting warm, the windows are open and the sounds of open-head V-8’s with camshafts as big around as your waist wail into the night.

We live north and east of the fairgrounds and closer to downtown but the south wind is howling tonight pushing the stockers our way. With the baby monitor on my desk it’s in stereo. Ivan’s snores sort of work with the pulsing roar. At eight months these are his first nights to sleep with the windows open so I’m trying to gauge the gusting wind, stock car growls and dog barks to see if we can leave them open.

Ok, so the stock cars. Most of the people I’ve informally polled over the years don’t like the noise. I personally do, but I like cars. When I was in sixth grade, my best friend and eighth-grader Ross’ dad raced stock cars at the fair. His old man was big, painted houses by day and raced a beat up purple stocker on Fridays. I’ll never forget the “blap blap blap” sound of that big motor cranking like it just might not turn that cam again and then his dad would slam the gas and “rowrr! rowrrr!” and that thing would howl tilting the car to one side and the concussion would rustle your shirt.

Then there was Friday night itself. For a 12-year-old hanging with an eighth-grader this was a pretty big night out. We were not really there to watch his dad race, rest assured. As much as I loved cars and would ID cars with my pops as we cruised down the road, going to the state fair speedway on a Friday night with a 14-year-old who has an 18-year-old brother who dipped Skoal that he dribbled rum into was not about cars. It was all about chopped black rock ‘n roll t-shirts, short shorts, gobs of makeup and things I wasn’t sure about but was as interested as I was terrified. Girls.

And you know what’s weird? Eight zillion years later the people at the races still sort of look the same and they still play “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” over the loud speaker.

I have to shoot the stock car races. It’s like the fair except with fewer fried foods.

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