Among the summer experiences my dog, Dublin, and I enjoy are the Thursday evening car shows on the Gardiner Waterfront. We’re lucky, in that we can hear the music cue up and waft up the hill to our house. “Mustang Sally” means the cars are arriving. Time to walk down to share a small order of salt-and-vinegar fries. Fries just taste better on waterfronts.

Recently, we were mesmerized by an immaculately restored 1937 Packard 12. Elegance personified. In July, a white 1962 Corvette with a red leather interior arrived from Boothbay Harbor. The license plate read: “RTE 66.” It was the identical ride from the ’60s TV show with Martin Milner and George Maharis.

I have vivid recollections of attending the 1963 New York Auto Show. I was 15. I stood for an hour (or more) just to sit for 15 seconds (or less) in the original Corvette Stingray. Fire engine red. I’d wait, see her, then get right back in line. After four “sits”‘ the Chevrolet guys told me to “beat it.”

The average age of attendees in Gardiner is about 107. More than a car show, it’s a “Gregarious Geezer Gala” — a “Social Security Social.” In my late 60s, when someone offers me a lollipop and calls me “sonny” — man, that’s a good day. Admission is a friendly fee of “free” (wives, girlfriends — or both — half price.)

The car show is great for anyone who enjoys a knick of nostalgia and righteously friendly folks. Kudos to the sponsors. Classic — even patriotic — American-bred automobiles (and some fine British imports) are alive and well in Gardiner.

Buddy Doyle


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