What to do with a house filled with girls

Full of ribbons, sweet smells, curls and swirls?

Refuge awaits just outside the back gate

(Where there is no hassle)

For a man’s garage is his castle!

— ‘Refuge Awaits’ by Ron Miller

Ron Miller’s garage is indeed his castle, for the garage contains old cars and various bicycles he treasures. There are other men in the area who share this passion for finding and restoring and driving vehicles of another generation. Miller, a retired educator, has written about these people and their road gems in his latest book, “Old Flames.”

The year is 1969 as Miller begins his survey about his car experiences. Social revolution near Woodstock, N.Y., is about to begin. There will be youths smoking pot and much talk about draft dodgers.

It is an unsettling time. But at this moment, Miller is at his station at Craig Air Force Base just outside of Selma, looking at the parking lot of the base supply squadron with a focus on the muscle cars sliding into their assigned spaces.

He knows the owner of each high-performance car. As he is admiring each one, he predicts that they all will have a prominent place in automotive history for the next several decades.

Although he was not yet 25 years old, his interest in cars was strong. Like many of his spirited peers who loved adventure, he also liked drag racing and young women.

“My focus changed as I matured to things more important,” the writer said. “But I have kept the passion for classic cars. It’s a good sentiment. They are part of our history and they show that we consider them ‘old flames’ like the girlfriends and boyfriends that once captivated our hearts.”

He makes a solid case for old cars as an ongoing hobby. To make a point, he looks back at 1969 as a unique time in American history, in terms of both cultural changes and milestones in car production.

“It was a time of civil unrest, but to many of us, cars were an escape to a more peaceful environment. And the designs from the cars of that time have been upgraded and are popular again.”

“Old Flames” is Miller’s third car book. The first two are “Classic Cars and Classic Bicycles” and “What’s in Your Garage?”

Miller includes sketches, photos and paintings of the eye-catchers he’s seen at car displays in Calhoun, Etowah, Talladega and Cleburne counties. There’s often a word about the owners of the cars and trucks and a note about the time, patience and talent invested in restoring their machines.

Since this is a serious hobby Miller found time to stop at an Antiques Garage while on vacation in New England.

On another page, he tells us about a Classic Chevy, a “Super ‘56” and its “Cruising the Coast” days. This moving car show still goes on in Biloxi, Miss.

Speaking of cruising, a 1951 red Ford convertible that belongs to Pat Waugh is “every man’s dream for summertime riding under the stars,” according to Miller.

On another page, an equally bright red Volkswagen (the peoples’ car) is pictured. A little car trivia is included: These cars were built in Germany before World War II.

A 1968 red camaro Rally Sport, another showstopper, belongs to a couple in Oxford.

In “Selma Drag Race, 1965,” Miller tells a funny, descriptive story about a drag race on a Sunday afternoon on the creek banks along a country road when he, an adventurous youngster, raced against a “red monster” and won — but was declared the loser. The tobacco-spitting man who called the competition introduced his opponent as “my brother.” Could that have had something to do with the judging?

Miller’s car fever is contagious.

The author writes fiction, too. He has completed “Rousseau’s Redemption,” a Christian romance in which Charity Grace, an inexperienced actress in New York City, is given the chance to save a mentally stressed woman from devastation. She does this by assuming the role of a loving daughter who has been missing from a billionaire’s mansion on Long Island.

“Old Flames” is available through Sleepytown Press, Mayhaven Publishing or on Amazon. Contact Miller at 256-282-3552.

CAST’s Randy Awards June 10

Another round of applause is given each summer to the actors, directors, box office helpers and those who simply work hard at CAST community theater during the annual Randy Awards ceremony.

This year’s Randy Awards will be at the Anniston Museum of Natural History on June 10 starting at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is invited. Randy Hall was an arts reporter and critic at The Anniston Star as well as a playwright.

“I consider your willingness to work a talent,” Kim Dobbs said to people who helped build sets, make costumes, sweep floors and attend to the myriad duties involved in theater productions.

It will be a casual event. Light refreshments will be served along with a cash bar. Please RSVP by calling CAST at 256-820-2278.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.

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