Just one exit up Highway 80 from Hercules, where I live, is the little town of Rodeo, California. Passing through Rodeo, population 8600, give or take, you get the sense of a town that’s just trying to hold on; a sort of sad charm that characterizes many American small towns.
Like many small towns it has a well worn, neighborly feel, home to generations of families that all seem to know each other. They attended the same elementary school and high school, shop at the Safeway on the western edge of town and share after work drinks at Ricky’s Corner, the little dive bar on the eastern end of the main drag.
Ricky’s is like any proper dive bar; dark, unpretentious, amiable and frequented by regulars who’ve been going there for years. The bartender asks how the family is doing, what about that son who’s off to college or the daughter on the John Swett High volleyball team. Meanwhile as she chats, she slides a wooden salad bowl full of pretzels in front of you to go with your shot and a beer. No big screen TV here, just a small set perched above the bar playing sports or news.
There’s a Little League ballfield named after baseball Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez one of the little town’s favorite sons. Every September the crack of the bat and pop of ball on leather are replaced by the hawking of chili and the admiring murmurs of car aficionados; it’s the annual Chili Cook Off and Car Show. Cora and I tasted the offerings a couple years back and they weren’t bad. Mine’s better but doesn’t that leave it to me to put up or shut-up?
This year I kept the cook pot in the cupboard and once again saved the chili chefs the ignominy of getting beat out by the newcomer from the neighboring town. This year I went to cook up some photos.
And it just so happened that my granddaughter Luciana was performing with her Hawaiian dance troupe.
The photography wasn’t looking very promising until I noticed that symbol of classic big American cars – the chrome. Vintage American cars were built big, built heavy and built with chrome and plenty of it; hubcaps, hood ornaments, bumpers and badges. And there in the hubcap of a Chevrolet was reflected a powder blue 50’s Ford F-100 truck. The day’s theme was found.
And so I strolled among the cars looking for chrome. There was no shortage. That was particularly true of the front end of a black Cadillac which beautifully displayed the impression of green grass, blue sky and streaking clouds – on four levels.
It’s a beautiful car, that Caddie and well preserved. While the owner might not appreciate a photo showing up the road nicks on the bumper I thought they made for a great effect. They appear as a streaking galaxy of stars in the blue sky.
Below: In the shiny hubcap of a black 1940 Ford was the reflection of an orange sibling.
Below: A quadruple reflection. A closer look at the black Ford revealed reflections of the 1940 Ford coupe in the hubcap, the front fender, the chrome headlamp frame and the headlamp itself.
Below: Clouds streak through a blue sky in the hubcap of a Chevy.
Below: Green grass and a cloud smeared blue sky in a Chevy.
Below: The same view only in monochrome. The subject does deserve one vintage looking image.
I saw one lowrider at the show. It was a Cadillac with some gorgeous artwork over the wheel well. While this isn’t exactly in keeping with my original notion of reflections it still is a reflection. A reflection of beautiful art.