Monthly Archives: September 2017

Looking’ Out My Front Door #3- Muscle

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(Note: I’m far from an authority, so if you have comments, stories, corrections additions, etc. please hit “comment” below. And share this with interested friends. They and I will thank you!)

I had a couple of minutes today, and it seemed like a good time to gaze through my office front door, ford the asphalt river of Tennis Lane, and stream into the Showroom of Unbroken Dreams at Vern Eide’s Exotica College of Cool Wheels. Immediately upon entrance I knew it was going to be a “workout” of source. Today’s theme: MUSCLE. Let’s take a look.

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The minute I walked in…THE JUDGE. Actually, it’s a stock 1970 GTO cloned into a GTO Judge. I looked up the color, and found in 1969 The Judge came in Hummer Orange. It is a clone (a regular GTO with Judge paint,decals, etc.), so its possible the ’69 color could have been put on a ’70 car. Regardless it was beautiful…even with the spoiler.

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As Muscle and Color are part of our theme today, the car right next to The Judge? A beautifully restored 1972 Dodge Challenger 383 Four Barrel in lovely, shocking and scrumptious Purple Passion. Not many cars or trucks can pull off a purple exterior, but as any fan will tell you Purple Passion on a Challenger is pretty sweet. Flawless car, probably in better condition than when it rolled off the line.

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In the rear of the showroom we stick with the GM Orange theme: A 1971 Chevrolet Camaro. The color is again Hugger Orange, but again a factory color a year earlier in 1970. Whatever, the car was sharp and shiny, and just marked down to $32,000.

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Muscle strength came in many forms, and while this car is not classic American Muscle, it is a classic, and has PLENTY of muscle: A 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS. YES, other than color, this is the car made famous by actor Tom Sellack on the hit TV Series “Magnum PI”, and also driven by a scotch-swilling, DUI-eluding character played by Dean Martin and his sidekick played by Sammy Davis Jr. in the movie “Cannonball Run”. It’s not the classic Ferrari “Arrest Me Red” color, but no matter, it still looks like its going 200 kph even whenstanding still. Like I always say, if something’s good enough for Thomas Magnum and 2/5ths of the Rat Pack, that’s good enough for me.

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Finally: This is not a muscle car, unless you measure muscle by the weight of your wallet. Nothing says British Hootie-Patootie like a Rolls Royce. This unit is dated 1980. I think it is a Silver Shadow or a Silver Wraith II. If you can clarify or correct, please do by leaving a comment below. What I DO know is his one has only 33K miles and is priced below $28,000. Heck, for that money you could buy this car and hire a driver on weekends and still not spend what you’d have to do buy a new late model pickup…although I don’t recommend hauling a load of quartzite gravel in the trunk of this genteel car-about-town.

If you have additions, corrections or real-life stories of your experiences with any of these cars, please hit comment and add them. And please share this post with the beloved motor heads in your like. They’ll be glad you did.

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One Person CAN Make A Difference

IMG_2426(L-R: Father Steve Miles (QC’s son), QC Miles, your author)

Last night I watched a documentary about the 50th Anniversary of the Rucker Summer Basketball League in Harlem, NYC. It was the first of the summer leagues where people from kids to NBA pros come together physically and spiritually through the game of basketball. The motto of the tournament is “Each One Teach One”, which is a great description of the mentoring process. I firmly believe there are few things more powerful in steering lives down the right path than a positive relationship with a true mentor, especially for those kids who have few if any of the family ties and creature comforts most of us enjoy.

On Labor Day I had a rare encounter with a man who has spent a lifetime as a mentor and influenced hundreds and thousands of lives in South Dakota.  Among those he influenced was my late father.  That mentor? Quentin C. Miles, age 96.

Q.C. Miles was a teacher, school superintendent and basketball coach for decades in several small school districts across South Dakota.  A decorated combat pilot in WWII, Q.C. returned to SD and became a teacher and coach.  In the early-mid 1950’s Q.C. found himself superintendent and basketball coach at tiny Gann Valley SD at a time when the nearby reservation high school at Ft. Thompson closed and sent students…and players…to Gann Valley. There was conflict, much of it racial. Some wise person once told me, in so many words, “If you want to cause trouble in a small town, mess with the school and the kids.  Parents will respond with lighted torches and cans of gas”.  The first couple of years were tough, but Q.C. soon had the team at the State “B” tournament (nothing like winning to bring people together!).   Q. C. went on to successfully coach, teach and lead at schools across East River, and became an influential legend in all matters of High School Sports.

In 1957, after four years of college sandwiched between two  years in the Army, and a year teaching in De Smet, my Dad, Mom and older brother Mike (then a toddler)  headed back to Forestburg SD to teach at the same school my parents, grandparents and many relatives had all attended.. The position paid a whopping $2,450.00 (a few hundred short of the cost of a basic ’56 Chevy).  As many did to make ends meet, my parents also raised a big bunch of chickens for eggs, a bunch of calves to finish out, and sold Dekalb Seed Corn on the side.  The superintendent who hired Dad at Forestburg? Q. C. Miles. Throughout my life I heard my Dad talk about Q. C. many, many times, and how much of a mentor and teacher Q.C. was to him while starting out in his career. A few years in, Dad was offered HIS first superintendent’s job at neighboring Artesian. Where did he go for advice? To Q. C. Miles, who said while he was sad to let such a good teacher and man go, Dad would be a fool to not take the job. That started a 30+ year career for my dad, leading small town school districts in SD and MN.  I have to believe Dad’s story was just one of hundreds influenced by Mr. Miles.

Now being on the planet for 96 years, and teaching and coaching his entire working life in SD communities, Q.C. must have come in contact with tens of thousands of students, parents and teachers.  Yet he could recount interviewing my Dad.  He asked about my Mom, and even remembered her maiden name and the names of her parents.  Q.C. told me he hoped I knew.how lucky I was to have the intelligence genes from both the Tlustos and Matthews gene pools running around in me (I told him I did).  He told me stories of my Grandpa Clarence (Dad’s dad) and his tenure on the Forestburg School Board. It was my grandpa who upon meeting Q.C. told him how unimpressed he was with him, yet after the interview told his fellow board members that “We CAN’T let this one get away”. Q. C., just like my Dad, gave a lot of the credit for his school’s successes to the quality school board members he worked with.

With decades working in all those towns with all those people, Quentin C. Miles has positively influenced countless lives and communities.  On Labor Day 2017 he touched mine, and reminded me by example that however rudderless, reckless and discouraging our times appear today, there’s living proof in Watertown, SD that one person CAN make a positive difference, if he or she is willing to put in the time and effort, and inspire individual eople to become a community.