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Memphis Rally Nerd
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Any feedback would be happily welcomed........

Neil Clark peered over his left shoulder as he moved over into the left lane of the interstate loaded with SUV?s, groceries, mother?s on the way to morning ball practice, teens eager to escape the confines of suburbia in the excitement of mall theatre?s, and the occasional full sized sedan of an elderly driver mouth agape in a constant expression of bewilderment. Fun stuff man. It was worth it though. In about a hour, the boys would be getting on the bus for summer camp, while Lynn and himself would be headed to the mountains of east Tennessee for the annual road rally held there. Both of them really needed to get away. Just to catch their breathe from the routine. Work, school, bills, obligations, the house needs painting, .......it seemed to just never stop.

?Have you got the map? You know we need a map for the b-roads once we start out for the rally stages...and the camera, did you get the camera?,? asked Lynn. ?Yeah, I learned my lesson the first two times, silly,? he replied. ?I learned MY lesson the first two times,? she said, mocking him playfully. ?For somebody that seems to know pace notes the way you do, getting lost at the same fork in the road shouldn?t take two years in a row to figure out.?

Lynn never was one without a quick witted remark. That?s one of the things he loved about her, and they fed off each other?s dialog well in any given situation, such as at parties. They got invited to a lot of them, because of that one simple reason. Although Neil tended to think that people just gravitated to Lynn on sight.

She was to put it simply, beautiful. her features were simple, but distinctive, as she was never one to dress ?to dolled up,? as she put it. Her deep auburn hair cut in a very short and simple bob. She had deep dark brown eyes and was above average height. Her favorite article of clothing was a beat up pair of Levi?s 501?s. ?They?re timeless man, they looked cool back in the day, they look cool now, and they will be cool in 10, 20, and 50 years from now.? She was quite right. He STILL liked watching her leave the room in those things.
?I blame all that on my co-driver, little miss ?welsh wizard?,? he said. ?Hey, I?m allowed a mistake once in a while, even Nicki Grist has moments to screw up. He?s STILL better than Derek Ringer, no matter what they might be saying,? she said. ?Yup, I agree, my love.?

Coming from Memphis after leaving around 7a.m. they reached the other side of Nashville about 11, and decided to have an early lunch. They were both famished. They pulled into a mom and pop diner just off the interstate, and sat down to fried catfish and fries. ?Hand me that bottle of hot sauce, and I?ll show you how to eat this the RIGHT way,? Neil said. ?You are gonna need a gallon of ice water to cope with that stuff,? she giggled. ?Nah man, I used to think the same thing BEFORE I started eating it like this,? he said. After a few minutes of intent gluttony, Lynn eyed Neil curiously for a few seconds. ?What are you lookin at all crazy?,? he said. ?How did you get into this whole rally thing? You never really told me before.? He scarfed down his last bite and greedily gulped some iced tea behind it. ?Well, ...long story,? he said. ?We have a lifetime,? she winked.

Joe Clark pulled his 71? BMW 2002 onto the deserted gravel road and looked at his 9 year-old son sitting in the passenger seat if see if he was buckled in properly. He loved this road. When he wasn?t on it, he was thinking about it. It was twisty, unforgiving, full of blind crests, deceptive open turns that tightened, and to add to the fun, the gravel itself was composed of small ball bearing-like stones that made each turn and correction of the wheel an exercise in surgical precision. Joe Clark knew every inch of it. If he didn?t, he wouldn?t have his little boy in this car on this road on this day in 1978. ?You all buckled in, Sport?,? he said. ?It?s about to get a little wild in here.? But a young Neil Clark was well ahead of him. ?Yes Dad, and if we go off the road, I hold my head low and cross my hands on the shoulder straps........oh, and I didn?t tell mom we were coming to do this,? he said. ?Good man, I don?t think your mother quite understands what we are up too, so this is our secret.? That ?secret? was as safe as any excited nine-year old boy could keep with a father. Perhaps even better than the boy could possibly fathom. This was a moment that Little Neil Clark had been waiting for well over nine months. Joe had been out at sea on an aircraft carrier for that time. This day would stay in the mind of Neil for the rest of his life. It gave him dreams and inspiration, maybe even torment. Because as is all too common, they would drift apart as the boy got older, for reasons probably not much different than many boys do from their fathers. Who could say? But for now, this moment was the only thing that encompassed his young mind. ?Ok Sport, here we go.?

He dropped the clutch and the rear tires spit a rooster tail 20 feet behind the little sedan in a fight for grip on the loose gravel. About 300 feet ahead, the road turned right into a medium hairpin which Joe Clark drifted through completely sideways much to the delight of his young and very excited passenger. ?Like that, Sport? We?re about to take this jump, hold on!? Joe flicked the sedan slightly to the left as he made the crest of the jump to compensate for the right turn to the right just over it. As the car hit the surface again, the momentum was carried through the right-hander which he also took quite sideways. ?YAY dad!,? said the boy. ?That?s called a the ?Scandinavian flick?. The Finns started that years ago. Fun, huh?? The boy wholeheartedly agreed and with realizing it, made a mental note of it. He never forgot it the rest of his life. Little Neil Clark watched his father effortlessly drive the rest of the road in mesmerized silence. The image of his father would forever drift that sedan through his mind after that day. One day, HE would be that master of control and concentration. Just like Dad. Just like Dad.
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