Never Met A Stranger: Missing Engines

By TW Burger

I suffer from AWAM syndrome.

The disease can be contagious, but AWAM is mostly found in people of a certain age, especially in the United States of A.

AWAM is an acronym for Anything With A Motor, and it reached pandemic proportions in the states of the 50s and 60s, during the height of our nation’s love affair with V-8 engines and big cars and heavy trucks.

OK, there is no such thing as AWAM, as far as I know. But don’t start with me… I’m a big believer in energy efficiency and leaving a smaller carbon footprint and all that. I drive a Honda Element, for God’s sake, and it’s plenty big enough.

I watch with real excitement the rise of all-electric vehicles. Critics of new technologies must remember that they are all still born. When petroleum-powered vehicles were at this stage, owners had to carry canisters of fuel with them because there was nowhere to buy fuel once they left town.

Critics laughed and went out to feed their horses.

Today, horses are pets; toys for those who have enough land and money to keep them.

AWAM hits me when I’m somewhere and someone drives by with one of the big V-8s from my youth. The sound digs deep, way beyond my Go Green mentality and anything that makes sense.

The feeling is wild, a kind of lycanthropy, a memory of full moons where you remember becoming a wolf and howling at the moon.

When you see someone from my vintage looking a little sad when a youngster zooms by in a little supercharged 4-cylinder, that’s why. We think they sound like over-caffeinated bees. Nothing personal. It’s just that we remember the giants who spoke thunder.

TW Burger grew up in Athens. He graduated from Athens High School in 1967. He worked as a driver of everything from forklifts to garbage trucks and cement mixers, was a mortar apprentice and a paramedic.

He has been a journalist since 1985, mostly in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with various stints in other publications. Semi-retired, he still works as a freelance writer and lives on the banks of Marsh Creek just outside Gettysburg.

He is the author of “The Year of the Moon Goose” and is currently writing “Never Met a Stranger”.

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