By Scarlette Quille
It’s that special time of year in Sandpoint: Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, the snow has melted and it’s been a month since the last time a snow plow took out my mailbox. If I was writing this column from my desk, anywhere else on Earth it would be safe to say that spring has arrived. However, this is North Idaho, and there is no way to safely assess your seasonal situation by something like the weather. My grandmother loved to say that it was officially spring when you saw the first robin in the yard. This was clearly a well-intentioned lie to raise the spirits of us grandkids. Soon, we would learn for ourselves that the devil bird, or robin singing in the yard, could easily be frozen solid to the windowsill the next morning with the onslaught of the right winter storm. The truth is there is only one way to mark the passing of winter in this area, and it starts with the scent of gasoline, the soundtrack to the movie “Grease” and the infiltration of classic vehicles on our city streets.
Sandpoint’s Lost in the ‘50s is a week away. Hopefully you have had the foresight to clear your schedule and prepare your liver. If you are new to this area, you are about to experience a milestone in your citizenship. Relax. You have been passively preparing for this weekend for a number of weeks now. Have you noticed that local businesses have been streaming horrendously catchy ‘50s music and erecting nostalgic displays? This is actually part of yearly celebration, not due to a lack of modern aesthetic. You see, officially our community is “lost” for one weekend, but in reality the pageantry goes on for closer to a month. Coincidentally, a month is about how long the average hangover lasts after the weekend is over. Plan accordingly.
One of my favorite aspects of Lost in the ‘50s is that there really is no prerequisite to being able to partake. There is no organizational affiliation or belief system required. One must only have a passable interest in classic cars and a tolerance to 1950s music. The trickier part of the weekend involves an individual’s ability to withstand the very real possibility of having a conversation with a boss, an ex-lover and your child’s fifth-grade teacher all whilst standing in front of a bar, holding someone else’s baby. Personally, I find comfort in the fact that the probability of remembering any of these conversations is very low.
I’m guessing this is the point in the column where some of you may interject your feelings about the appropriateness of such a celebration. I would argue that there are plenty of places in our country where one can drive their electric car, sip kale juice and isolate their children from the depravity of the masses; this festival is just not one of them. North Idaho is well-known for resident’s passionate relationship with gas guzzlers, beer and freedom. There is no other place I know, that is as perfectly suited to hold this type of celebration.
That being said, there are two rather strict expectations associated with Lost in the ‘50s weekend, and it would be irresponsible for me not to mention them:
The first is that it’s OK to drink, and it’s OK to drive, but you have to choose one or the other. Don’t be an asshole and try to have it all. If you want to parade your sweet ride around town, then don’t drink. I promise you, the excuse that you decided to drink and drive because you didn’t want to “leave your fancy rig” downtown doesn’t mean anything to law enforcement. I have yet to see a vehicle that is worth more than a life.
The second rule is that you don’t touch any of the vehicles. I assure you that touching the paint job on a man’s ’66 cherry red Mustang will be about as well received as you grabbing him by the balls. Following this rule requires a bit of common sense and the ability to keep one’s hands to themselves. If you struggle personally with either of these skills, it’s advisable that you do not go out in public, and definitely skip the car show.
With that being said, I hope you all get lost!
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