July is here, and it always means the start of “real summer” to me. One thing on my calendar each July is the Fourth of July ceremonies and celebrations in my hometown.
I have, for many years, marched in our local parade with the community VFW contingent: a bunch of old-timers out for a lengthy walk in the morning summer sun with our musty old uniforms and castrated M1 rifles, sandwiched between the high school band and some gone-tomorrow politician.
The Steering Column
Left Hand Drive
from our President
This year, I wonder if “Cap’n Billie” will be back. He missed last year, I note.
Now, I don’t even know if Billie is his real name – it could be Tom, or Frank, or Tony or Stan, because he comes from that generation when those were common names to him and his comrades in arms. But each year for many years “Cap’n Billie” has reported to the parade forming area in a full-fledged US Army WWII paratrooper uniform. He watches the marching contingents form up and I watch him.
I am a student of WWII military history, and I know that he is the real thing. The uniform is probably not 65 years old (then again, maybe it is? – my US Army marching boots date to 1968) but, if not original, it is an accurate reproduction of those issued at that time. He has all the badges and insignia of a US Army Infantry Captain, circa 1944, belonging to the 82nd Airborne Division. You may know that this group participated in the D-Day invasion of France. You may have seen movies and television shows about this group. You may even know, or be related, to someone who served with it. He has certain campaign medals and ribbons of achievement on his chest that can be read by those who know the code. He is the real thing. “Cap’n Billie” himself looks to be a healthy guy in his 80’s: trim, bright eyed, and mentally alert. What you might expect from someone who was at the peak of health as a young man when trained for intense physical activity those many years ago. I would like to hear his stories some day.
We exchange greetings as I fumble with the sling on my M1 and my 40 year old bootlaces: How are you this year? Your uniform looks great! Would you care to join us this year – we have room in the car?
Sadly enough, Cap’n Billie always declines the invitation to participate. As the parade forms up and the vets move out he remains on the curb, looking on.
I sometimes think that our club has some members like Cap’n Billie. They have all the right credentials, and the experience that could make a difference, but when the call for involvement and contribution goes out, they sit on the sidelines and watch the parade move on.
This year, we have many opportunities still ahead for those with talent, experience, initiative and a mentality for achievement to join the parade and make a contribution. We are in need of organizers for several rallys, and – most importantly – for interested members to step forward for elected offices next year.
We may not wear badges and ribbons to our meetings, but our credentials are clear to those that know us. Take a
moment to think if the time is right for you to make a contribution to the club with your skills and abilities. Then step forward if you wish: the parade is forming up!
Safety Fast, -- Jim Evans
The Steering Column
Right Hand Drive
from our Vice - President
The saga of the GT continues. After all the time spent taking the front suspension apart I thought I was past the worst of it until I tried to take the nuts off the kingpins. They wouldn't budge. Repeated soakings in penetrating oil, heating (with a puny propane torch), sessions in the vic with the longest breaker bar available, didn't do any good. So I took them to the tech session at Jim Evans' house thinking I'd get some tips on the proper procedure and take them home to finish the job. However, Jim devoted most of his time at the session working on them. The nuts came off with relative ease. Silly me, I thought the trunnions would then slip right off. Repeated heating and pressing in the hydraulic press finally got one apart only to find that the kingpin is unusable. Jim volunteered to keep the other one and keep trying to get if apart. Thanks to Jim, Dave Evans, Barney and everyone else who helped in the process.
Now the next step is to find usable kingpins ( hopefully Tom Josefek has some), order the needed parts and get ready to reassemble. A major part of getting ready to put things back together will be cleaning and painting all the parts. I hope that is fairly simple. Reassembly may require new tie rods but I hope not because the old ones seem extremely reluctant to come off, but that's another story.
Thanks to Jake and Ann for their demonstration of what to carry along in the boot to deal with roadside emergencies. Thanks also to Dan Herman for his video of the Jo Davies tour. The fact that 16 MG’s made the tour with no breakdowns speaks well for the reliability of our cars. I wonder if Jake and Ann's kit could have been assembled from amongst the cars present. I'd like to assemble "the kit" for my boot, and the skills to make use of it. In the process I hope to learn the maintenance skills to minimize the need for "the kit".
-- Dave Peterson
Front Cover: One of the fascinating stops we made during the 4th running of the Secrets of Jo Daviess Tour. We are in front of the Potosi Brewery, est. in 1852 in Potosi, WI. After ceasing operations in 1972 a restoration of the facility began in 1995. It is also home to the American Breweriana Association National Museum. Well worth a stop, and enjoy a cold one!