1959 Buick LeSabre
Imagine if you will…you are traveling a long, uphill stretch of two-lane highway, mid-day, on a hot, summer Sunday in the Deep South. Your Toyota Prius is humming along nicely, electric, on your way back to Atlanta. Ahead you can see the heat undulating upward from the blistered, Georgia asphalt atop the distant hill. You are surprised you didn’t notice the slow moving farm tractor in the opposite lane sooner, driver and implement bouncing up and down, dirt clods flying in all directions, as he makes his way down the bucolic, rural highway.
Suddenly, at the crest of rise, you see the unbelievable. A surreal 50’s era Buick, easily approaching ninety miles an hour, effortlessly screams over and down the hill; the metallic paint and chrome reflects the sun like the golden halo of an angel, completely surrounding it. The farmer is unaware of its rapid approach. The thin, crew-cut driver, still in his Sunday best, calmly swings into your lane and you clearly see him through the blue-green tinted windshield, elbow out the window, one finger on the oversized steering wheel, the bright red tip of a cigarette in his mouth, the giant chrome face of the 2-ton behemoth headed straight for you. Passing the tractor, only the finger on the wheel moves slightly clockwise as he gracefully swerves completely into his lane not 80 yards ahead of you. The massive grill, bumper, and double headlamps beneath menacing eyebrows of chrome give you a jolt of fear as the glistening chariot blows past you in silence; the driver giving a grin and shoulder shrug as if to say, “poor you”. In the rear view mirror you see nothing. Ahead of you, there is no farmer, no tractor, nor any sign they were ever there.
What you have just witnessed was an apparition. For on this same Georgia two-lane, in the latter half of the twentieth century, J.C. West, wife and often two boys in tow, cruised many a gleaming Buick to see the grandparents every Sunday after church. For this particular Sunday visit, J.C. chose the ‘59 Pearl Fawn, white topped, Buick LeSabre. And you have just entered…the Twilight Zone.