A Community Chorus concert and ‘crunch’ time

Posted 4/17/18

Looking back, so much happened in 1968. Patrick Buchanan wrote an article titled “With Nixon in ’68” in the April 7, 2018 edition of the Wall Street Journal, where he noted “1968 was the …

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A Community Chorus concert and ‘crunch’ time


Looking back, so much happened in 1968. Patrick Buchanan wrote an article titled “With Nixon in ’68” in the April 7, 2018 edition of the Wall Street Journal, where he noted “1968 was the great divide. 1968 was the turning point.”

The Community Chorus of Port Townsend and East Jefferson County recently celebrated those times with its spring concert at the Chimacum High School auditorium. The first half of the concert featured songs recalling memories of Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggles over civil rights. The second half presented songs of the 1960s, ranging from the Beatles to Bill Withers. It was particularly entertaining to see Yvonne Starkey, Douwe Rienstra, Rick Kirkwood and 100 more singers dressed in tie-dye and flowers.

Equally entertaining were the 300 or so members of the audience rocking back and forth to the music and clapping their hands. I suspect most of us in the audience particularly enjoyed the concert since we actually lived in those times.

I was in my first week of Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, when King was assassinated. Nobody moved for a week. I was only able to get out of the barracks because I volunteered to sing in the church choir the following Sunday. Those were precarious times in our country, and the chorus did a nice job of reminding us that we successfully survived those perils.

BJ and I walked out to the parking lot after the concert, got into the car and started to back up, generating an incredibly scary noise from the front undercarriage of the car. Four people heading to the car next to ours joined BJ and me at the front of our vehicle to investigate the disaster I had precipitated. I had just barely driven over the little concrete parking barrier at the front of our parking spot and caused the damage. (One of the folks from the other car started calling me a curmudgeon for some reason.) We put the hood of our car up, looking for a potential solution, with no luck.

So, there we were, half a dozen folks standing around the car, wondering what to do next. All of a sudden, a superhero, known locally as the guy in the All City tow truck, was there. He had been driving by after changing a tire at the Chimacum Cafe and saw the crowd standing beside our car with the hood up. He knew we needed rescuing.

Using a jack and a wrench, he took the large air intake piece off the bottom of our car and gave cautious encouragement to us to drive the car with little worry. All the piece was doing was directing cooling air to the bottom of the transmission – probably needed more in the deserts of Arizona than here. The next day, there was a short stop at Circle and Square, where one of its competent mechanics repaired and replaced the air intake.

I worked at the Sohio gas station in Hudson, Ohio, during my summers whilst in college in the 1960s, so I claim to have some working knowledge of auto care and repair, at least when it comes to a 1956 Chevy. With today’s cars, I must identify with a claim by Mitch Hedberg: “I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car’s headlights and tell you exactly which way it’s coming.”

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week.

Ned Luce of Port Ludlow writes this column weekly for The Leader. Contact him at NedLuce@sbcglobal.net.


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