The Silver Spur
The red-on-silver two-tone Rolls Silver Spur literally sparkled in the sunlight as it sat in the parking area behind Faded Glory. Even the soft, glove leather seats were bright red! In this small country town, it definitely didn’t go unnoticed. The Candlers reverently parked it there when they arrived last Friday, and it hasn’t been moved since. Elise and Matthew Candler booked their suite for a full week, and they have since spent most of their time hiking in the surrounding National Forest, reading quietly together on the porch, and enjoying the sumptuous meals proffered by Isabel’s world-class kitchen. Anyone living within 500 miles of Atlanta knows that the Candler name is synonymous with the Coca Cola brand and its immense family fortunes.
I was eager to anoint and “sniff test” the tires on the Rolls, and it had hardly rolled to a stop before I joyously lifted my leg to add my own personal “remembrance to the rims.” I can now tell you from experience that the Rolls’ tires were no more remarkable than those of any other car that I have found parked in the back driveway of the Inn. I have urinated on the tires of many an old clunker that have yielded more exciting scent-sations than the Rolls Silver Spur.
Even I knew that this car would sooner or later spark a lively discussion — it had to happen — and it did. During one of her ensuing conversations with Micah, Isabel posited the opinion that, in this day and age, “You are what you drive.” Micah, thoroughly enjoying the game, took the adversarial point of view that the car you might choose to drive isn’t necessarily a status symbol; it merely reflects your feelings about utility, simplicity, and economy.
Micah argues that for many people, an automobile is merely a means to an end to be used for travel between point A and point B. If it runs trouble-free, it’s perfect. And, if it just happens to be painted a color and have a sound system that you like — even better — but it certainly doesn’t have to be ‘fancy,’ just functional.
Isabel tends to be a materialist in that she maintains that people love and choose cars that reflect their status in life and their fondness for creature comforts. With all of these diverse opinions swirling about my head, I decided to make an inventory (a walk down memory lane, so to speak) of some of the more wonderful, and not-so-wonderful vehicles that I have anointed over my years at Faded Glory.
Remember the notorious Dawson County dentist, Dr. David Duncan, and his 43 year old “girl friend” who arrived driving the “bright red, new 1984 BMW convertible?” It was a shiny, sleek-looking BMW convertible, conveniently wrapped in a “midlife crisis” red paint job. If that car could talk, it would have some tales to tell!
Ray Whitlow proudly drove a non-descript faded red 1967 Chevrolet C10 pickup truck. Ray took pride in driving his “future classic;” simple, inexpensive, and all-steel-sturdy. Ray wasn’t into status, he was into nostalgia and ‘sturdy.’
Louella Hightower Hess drove her 1978 Ford Grenada until the day it died (or imploded from exhaustion).
Louella would drive anything with a seat and a gas pedal that could get her from point A to point B — intact.
Ed Hightower (Isabel’s new-found man-friend/banker), drives a black 1983 Chevy Caprice 4-door sedan with an unimaginative cloth bench seat and an AM radio. In addition, Ed must be a bit nearsighted. From the smell of it, he appears to have driven over some very interesting wildlife in his travels, and I would wager that they were still alive when he hit them.
Micah Davenport is definitely an anomaly. The fastest ride he takes is on his 1949 J.C. Higgins balloon-tired bicycle. He doesn’t drive any automobile and probably never will.
Dr. Harold Chastain (ornithologist from UGA in Athens, GA) drives about in his classic 1981 British Racing Green (aluminum bodied) Land Rover. Dr. Chastain, a committed Anglophile and dedicated academician, uses his Rover to “motor out to the field” to view and photograph the native birds.
Hank Beavers can usually be found driving his 1958 International Harvester or 1948 Ford F-150 pickup trucks. With Hank, pickup trucks are — “a man thing.” We’re just waiting for his fiance, Willa Jean, to turn up pregnant. There WILL be a sedan in their future!
Dr. Peter Payne, D.D.S. – Vinings, GA., rides a 1983 Harley Davidson XLS 1,000 cc. Roadster. Adorned with chrome, stainless and other miscellaneous “bling,” Peter’s ride cost more than many modern automobiles! The good doctor likes to ride in style; but, on rainy days he prefers to drive his classic 1966 Mustang convertible.
Rev. Calvin Payne (Isabel’s Minister) cuts a rather conservative caper driving his faded black 1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle. I can usually outrun this car for the first 50 yards, but when Rev. Payne tries to escape me on foot, I always let him win.
Sheriff Kenny Payne, Calvin Payne’s identical twin brother, sports around during his off-duty hours in a candy-apple red 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible powered by a 427 big-block V8. Do you really think that Kenny observes the local speed limits? Rank definitely does have it’s privileges.
Dorothy Duncan (wife of our notorious Dr. David Duncan) still drives her gray pearl metallic 1982 Lincoln Town Car. Poor Dorothy recently got the car in her divorce settlement . . . plus the lake house, the Bayliner speedboat, the IRAs, the jewelry, the rental properties, the poodles, and . . .
O. Fulton and Catherine Rogers, frequent guests and longtime friends, frequently roll up in their shiny 1985 Jaguar XJ12, midnight black sedan. These folks are allegedly semi-retired, and they really travel in comfort!
Dr. Benjamin Stubbs, Isabel’s family veterinarian virtually shakes the ground and rattles windows in his 1985 silver three-quarter ton Dodge Ram 4 x 4 turbo-diesel pickup. Except for the stainless steel animal cages in the pickup bed, this Dodge is a super-macho truck in every respect! And, believe it or not, this guy still makes house calls! House calls? Gimme me a break!
Ranger Matthew Tipton’s personal choice is a 1986 Jeep Cherokee 4×4 station wagon. Matthew is a true minimalist, no bells and whistles; his Cherokee sports a 4-speed standard transmission and an A.M. radio. If Matthew really has to get somewhere in the snow, he usually fires up his pale green U.S. Forest Service diesel 4 x 4 Ford pickup. Both vehicles ride like Sherman tanks, and Isabel says that he has to ‘clean up his act’ if he ever wants to find him a wife.
Isabel Whitlow has always seemed to love her long-coveted 1986 Lincoln signature-edition dove gray Town Car. Isabel has never denied wanting all of the creature comforts in her car. Despite the fact that she’s a very down-to-earth, practical country lady, Isabel really likes to be noticed!
Another word about Elsa and Matthew Candler’s 1985 Rolls Royce Silver Spur sedan. Ed, Micah, Louella and Hank don’t know it yet, but Elsa and Matthew Candler were kind enough to drive the Rolls up from “Atlanta Classic Cars” in Buckhead (owned by the Candler family), and they will return to the Atlanta area driving Isabel’s Lincoln — which she has quietly traded in on the Rolls. Now, we know the rest of the story! Can I keep a secret? You bet!
Okay, this move by Isabel caught us all ‘flat-footed,’ but, in all fairness, we have always been aware that Isabel really enjoys being seen in luxury cars. We all thought that the Lincoln Town car would prove ample to fulfill her decadent automotive appetite, but we now realize that we just didn’t have a clue. Otherwise, Isabel rarely indulges herself, and she leads a simple, uncomplicated life.
I think Isabel has found, and is in touch with, her inner child. At age 67, she is flirting with the far side of middle age, but she has definitely waded into the game. Go for it, Isabel!