The winner of the car show.

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It’s safe to say I don’t know much about cars. I don’t just mean I can’t change a carburetor or even the oil, I mean I couldn’t point out a Chevy truck from a Ford unless I’m reading the words on the tailgate. The details of cars elude me, unless it’s something like a funny bumper sticker or a car top carrier about to fly off (this happened to our family … twice). If you asked me to describe a car, I’d be hard pressed to get past “it’s red” or “it had four doors.”

Nevertheless, this lack of knowledge and interest didn’t stop me from attending the car show our church hosted on a sizzling Saturday recently. I was curious as to what takes place at car shows and if I would be even mildly interested in something I don’t know much about.

To my surprise, it was fun. The church parking lot was full of bright, shiny automobiles from all eras. David and I walked around to each car, him pointing out details that would otherwise go right by, details about engines and upholstery and dashboards.

What I did notice was that so many of the cars were manual transmission. I am a firm believer in the superiority of the stick shift, and I felt a little giddy peeking in all these old cars and seeing the retro gear shifters.

I’ve tried to convince my kids that, as they say on “Mandalorian,” “This is the way.” To be a true driver, I tell them, one who can drive any car out there, you must master the stick shift. It was a skill that came in handy in Indonesia, where most cars are manual. It comes in handy if you’re being chased by dinosaurs on an island and the only way to escape is to jump in a big cargo truck and slam it into first gear (a la “Jurassic World”).

Aside from admiring all those lovely manual transmissions, I enjoyed hearing the stories from the enthusiastic owners that were behind many of the cars. One woman told me about her Model T, which her father built and owned for years, but had to sell. Eventually she was able to buy it back and now lovingly takes care of it and drives it to car shows around the valley.

At the end of the car show, prizes were awarded, and the first place winner was a shiny black car (see? I’ve already forgotten what type) that was just gorgeous. The owner said it was his first car show ever and was thrilled to win a prize.

One thing I love about being back in America is the opportunity to explore whatever hobby, like vintage cars, you might have. Do you enjoy knitting, plastic models, hiking, cricket, sailing, board games, beekeeping, square dance or searching for reptiles (officially known as ‘herping’)? Then there is a club, full of enthusiasts and its own subculture, in the Treasure Valley, waiting for you.

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