Murder, Kidnapping, Intrigue

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Finally, I finished another book that is not political. I found this book in the Frankfort library using the same system I used in Arizona this winter; walk in, scan the new releases, and take the first book that catches my eye. This time it was the cover art for a book titled The Yellow Packard. I immediately knew it involved old cars, and probably was about the period in history that matched the car.

The Packard car remains in my memory as one of the classier cars on the road. The styling characteristic that turned me on was the grill. Packard spewed elegance, opulence, speed and class.  One of the most popular customers for the Packard were funeral homes, they used them for hearses, flower cars, and limo’s.  I guess having your last ride in a Packard meant one had finally made it to the big time.

Once I began reading, the book held my interest until I completed it two days later.

The author, Ace Collins is someone I never heard of, but upon reading his bio it surprised me to learn he has sixty published novels. Collins is a master of character development, and his writing allows the reader to see what is happening throughout. He does an amazing job with details about the depression era.

I won’t get into details about the plot, because it is a mystery and talking about the plot may spoil the mystery. The plot has many sub-plots expertly woven into the main story. The central theme of the story details how people’s lives changed after the yellow Packard enters their lives. Some of the changes are very positive, and others not so.  Even though the Packard is an inanimate object, in this story the car has a life and becomes as central a character as the people who come to own it.

It was delightful not to read any foul language, nor be titillated by sexual content. Keeping true to form to the depression era the language and morals of the country were much different from what they are today. In fact, I enjoyed the story more because it was clean.

I thought Collins wrapped up the story in a comical way when he did a Perry Mason like ending with all the people who owned the Yellow Packard assembled in one place for a recap of the clues that allowed the FBI to solve the kidnapping, and to unveil of a surprise mystery.

This book is a must read for mystery fans, old car nuts like me, and those who want to learn what it was like during the First Great Depression, or for anyone who enjoys a genuine good story.

He Scares the Hell Out of Me!

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerMaybe it is just me, but I think there is a problem with one of the candidates running for the presidential nomination. I normally don’t get involved in political discussions like I am venturing to do now because I get too emotional. My logic fails me when I get emotional, and I will lose any debate I get into. The end result is that I know not to debate.

Last night I attended my Lions Club meeting. There were twenty five people in attendance. Their ages range from 30 to 75. I must confess there are more older members than younger ones. We open the meeting the same way each month. The Lion President calls upon Lion Tony to begin the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Last night, I looked around the room as we pledged. All of us had a hand over our heart as we stood facing the stars and stripes. All recited the pledge with reverence. Every single one of us had the right hand over the heart.  So what, you say, we all pledge that way. It is the way we were taught in school. That is right. If you went to school in this country. If  you are my age, you also learned to pray, to say the pledge, and you learned to respect the military. That is because kids my age grew up watching a world war. The friends of our parents, or in some cases our parents, were in the war. We were all affected. Even as children we felt the effect of rationing, and the continuous requests to buy  war bonds. Yes, we were asked to buy war bonds in school. We saved our money proudly, because it was helping our country fight a war against a dictator with a very evil belief.

Our country was isolationist before WWII. Our citizens did not want to get involved. Let the Europeans fight their own war we said. Ultimately our President got involved because a strong ally asked for help. The US agreed to build war materials for the allies. Later, we got involved again when we declared war on Japan, after they bombed our ships in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That got us were really involved. I digress. All I’m trying to say is that I grew being taught to be patriotic. I am still patriotic. I fly the stars and stripes over my  home everyday of the year. So it really bugs me when a major candidate for the highest office in the land is caught on film with his hands folded in front of him while a number of his opponents are all pledging the allegiance with hands over the heart.

Did he ignore this simple sign of respect because he wasn’t schooled in the US? Is it because he is un-patriotic? What? The rest of us perform this simple act of love automatically when we proudly pledge our allegiance to the flag of America. I ask you, can you vote a person who cannot show a basic simple sign of love and respect for his country into the highest office of the land?

Another thing that bugs me about this candidate is his slogan, “Change You Can Believe In.” Just what kind of change is he planning to bring about? Is he planning to teach us all that the star and stripes do not deserve respect? Is he planning to change the Constituion to take away our current form of government? Just what is the “Change You Can Believe In?”

Quite frankly, this candidate scares the hell out of me.

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