While on our journey to the promised land, Glynda and Houston and I reminisced about another [mis]adventure from over a decade ago. Since this was pre-RandomConnections, the episode was never properly documented. So here, for the first time, is the tale of “The Green Cadillac Hearse and the Case of Mistaken Identity”…
The year was 1997 and I was still a teacher. This was in the pre-digital days, and I was using a Canon Xapshot video still camera from my classroom. This particular camera recorded still images onto an analog disk similar to a floppy disk. It was one of the first cameras that could record images that could be erased later. The images were transferred to computer via an image capture card, which could also do video stills from a camcorder.
Houston had come up to visit and we were on one of our photo rambles, this time staying fairly close to home. My intent was to capture some interesting textures as backgrounds for some classroom web projects we had underway. While I did get some good textures from that trip, the other things I captured would never make it into the classroom.
Our first stop was the old Chick Springs Resort area. At the time you could still walk up to the old bath house and remaining resort buildings. I captured images of bricks, shingles, bark, etc., as well as some of the old buildings themselves.
We took pictures of a kudzu-covered railroad trestle and and antique fire engine on Wade Hampton Blvd.
That’s when we saw the hearse – a Cadillac that had the roof cut off and painted a sickly shade of green. To top it off, a bathtub had been installed in the back that had a shower and recycling pump. You could actually fill the tub and have water come out of the shower head. We had to stop for photos.
We pulled into the used car lot where we spotted the unusual vehicle and asked the salesman if he would mind if we shot a few photos. Not only did he graciously agree, but he gave us the keys and told us to take it for a spin. Trouble was on its way.
We were close enough to Glynda’s house that we decided to pick her up and see if she wanted to ride with us. As we pulled up to her house, her daughter, Katie, ran out, screamed, then ran upstairs. We couldn’t coax her out to ride with us.
At the time my other brother, Stephen, lived nearby and pastored a local Methodist church. We wanted him in on the fun, too, so we tried calling from Glynda’s house. His daughter, Lauren, answered and said that Steve had a wedding later that afternoon, and was up at the church. Since it was close, we decided to pay him a visit. With me driving and Glynda riding shotgun, Houston took off his shirt and hopped in the bathtub in back.
When we arrived at the church we discovered that the wedding was earlier than Lauren had thought. As we pulled into the covered drop-off area, an astonished wedding party watched.
Now one thing must be kept in mind. My brothers and I look very much alike, and sometimes it’s hard to tell us apart. So, here’s this lime green Cadillac hearse with a bathtub in the back pulling into the church, and the wedding party sees that in the bathtub is someone who looks very much like the minister who is about to perform their wedding. We decided that perhaps we didn’t need to take Stephen for a ride, after all, and that it might be best if we left. Quickly.
We told Steve about this later. I don’t know if this traumatic event had an effect on the young couple’s marital life, but it certainly provided us with a story we’ll never forget.