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There used to be a local PBS show kicking around these parts called” Things That Aren’t There Anymore.”

It was a loving lament to the good old days of Pennsylvania’s amusement parks or Mom & Pop restaurants where you could get the best burger, shake or cup of coffee and by goodness it was cheap and wonderful.

You get the point – things change, people and tastes change and things that were once important and part of your life’s fabric one day go away.  And you miss them.

Which leads me to this:

Had my car in the shop for some work and as always happens when I’m there I receive a voucher for a free ” LASER CAR WASH.”  It’s a blatant attempt to turn me from a freeloading car wash customer into a paying car wash customer.   It also forces me to drive to through the Mercedes lot to cash in on my free wash.

I get to look at all the cars I will never own.

No humans involved in the operation, mostly a giant Robbie the Robot that hoses down, scrubs, rinses and dries your car in about 4 minutes.  I did not see any lasers in action although at times the windshield was covered with soap so maybe one slipped in there while I couldn’t see.

I’m not a big fan anymore of keeping the outside or inside of my car clean.  No, it’s not a clean machine.  I work. It’s a working car. We work together. We have this understanding.

But whilst sitting inside that Wash -o -Matic Tunnel I recalled when washing cars was not a product of some mechanical or industrial revolution but an honest to goodness family adventure project on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Remember when we all got decked out in bathing suits and filled buckets with soapy water and sponges the size of a loaf of bread?  Washing the family car was fun.  This was when we all only had one car.

The cars in my family had names and personalities probably because they were the first cars my our parent’s ever owned.  Owning a Chevy was a big deal.

Cars were still a luxury item on the way to becoming a necessity for the post war new middle class. My Mom and Dad grew up during The Great Depression and The Second World War.  Life was no picnic for those kids who became our parents.

It was a big deal to watch the odometer flip over to 30 or 40,000 miles.

We’d all crowd over the front seat and watch those little plastic wheels work their mileage magic.  This was while the car was in motion.

Washing the car was a big deal.  We kids mostly got wet, did no work, got bored and left my Dad to clean up our mess.  He  was responsible for waxing the car – Simonize anyone?  That was hard work and you had to do it in the shade.

Only the well to do could afford to pay to have someone wash their cars.  Which brings me and us to last week and the car wash.

Washing the car is one of those things that’s not there anymore.

My current car has no particular name or personality except that it’s a beast in the snow which I like and my last 4 cars have all been named ” Millenium Falcon.”

Cars, they come, they go clean or otherwise.

One of these days I’ll tell you about that ’67 Karhman Ghia…Now that was a car.