Sunday, September 9, 2007

Today, Basketball and Rolls Royces, tomorrow, who knows?

Yesterday I felt like it was time for a parade, so I rounded up a few friends and we did one. There’s nothing to beat it on a hot late summer day. We may be hicks up here in Massachusetts, but we’ve got a few things the slick folks in the big city don’t. One of them is the Basketball Hall of Fame, and this weekend was Enshrinement Time, when they induct new members into the Hall of Fame.

Prior to photographing and embedding them in the Hall’s concrete walls, new inductees are flown to Springfield and placed in the Marriott and Sheraton hotels downtown. I organize a parade of Rolls Royce automobiles to carry the inductees on their fateful one-mile journey from Hotel to Enshrinement.

This year we had six inductees, so I brought seven Rolls Royce cars. Anyone who plans a convoy knows there is a possibility of vehicle casualties (breakdowns, fires, explosions, alien abductions …) so with seven cars and six riders we could lose 15% of our transport and still deliver the inductees, provided they weren’t lost with the vehicles.





As in prior parades, we also had a police escort to keep the lowlifes out and the inductees in. Plus, we get to run all the red lights with the law on our side.

This year’s lineup of cars featured my Mini as the lead car, followed by the renowned Sea Breeze, brother of musician Taj Mahal, in the two-tone Rolls Convertible. He’s followed by my heighbor Gordy Palley in a 2001 convertible, and Perrin Edwards, a famous foot surgeon, in a 2000 convertible. Behind him you’ll see Bobby Hartsfield, one of the most refined gentlemen you’ll ever meet in my red Bentley. Making up the rear we had my friend Gene’s ivory sedan, Paul Picknelly’s two-tone sedan, and Perrin’s spare car.

The buses in the background carry the hordes who are here for the spectacle, along with their gear.


Some of you readers may wonder what Rolls Royce parades have to do with basketball. Well, I’ll tell you. In the twisted minds of those who promote tourism to our city, Springfield was the Birthplace of Basketball. It says so on our license plates, and the convicts who manufacture them are reminded of that fact every single day, as are motorists who can read. Springfield was also the location of Rolls Royce’s American factory, back in the 1920s.

Rolls Royce actually built cars for the American market right here in Springfield, until the depression killed them off. And my company, Robison Service, is located on a corner of the lot that housed the old Rolls Royce manufacturing plant.

So it’s sort of rolling history. Smiling ladies sell copies of that same story for $4.95 at the Tourism Center for our city, so I hope you appreciate reading it for free here.

I am pleased to say all the vehicles and all the passengers transited the parade route uneventfully. Those of you who are basketball fans may wonder who the inductees were this year. They are: Harry Flournoy, for Texas Western basketball, Roy Williams, University of North Carolina, Mirko Novosel, Yugoslavia National Team, Phil Jackson, L.A. Lakers & Chicago Bulls, Pedro Ferrandiz, of Real Madrid, and WNBA coach Van Chancellor.

Everyone had a good time, and to celebrate another successful parade I ate a large waffle cone at the adjacent Cold Stone Creamery.

17 comments:

kanani said...

I read about Phil Jackson's big day! Here's an article about him on the day he was inducted.
Wow. You really do work with some fancy people and fancy cars.
Thanks for slumming with us crummy old car people John! ;0)

Kim Stagliano said...

I notice the first photo shows the license plate "PP." Are you sure the doctor isn't a urologist? I've never seen a Rolls Royce parade. Most impressive. Although last night, Mark and I went into the city (NY) to see Tony Bennett and there were stretch Escalades everywhere. I don't know how the drivers navigate the city in those behemoths. My next visit to The Big Apple will be for your reading. Can't wait.

KIM

John Elder Robison said...

Kim, the PP plate on the blue convertible is the owner's first and last initials. Perrin (the doctor's) car is the black one behind it.

I can't imagine driving a stretch Escalade

Kanani, thanks for the article link. He's a hometown hero for you all out west.

Drama Mama said...

John,
you do nothing small.

You live a large life. Even down to your ice cream.

I love that about you.

Can you hurry up that damned book release?

Paula's Poetry said...

Thank you for the history of the Rolls Royce and for sharing the excitement of the parade. One thing I've always been proud of is the history of New England. Choosing to stay in Massachusetts because of all we have here.

Even at 41, I never am never bored and learn new facts all the time.

John, you are blessed. I am sure it never gets boring being part of such fantastic history.


Paula

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I'm amused because I went to Kansas University, which also regards itself as the birthplace of basketball. Heh. What do you want to bet they're BOTH wrong?

I love a parade. Nothing better.

Tech Scribe said...

John, this is the most fabulous blog on the Internet! Congrats on your reviews so far -- you deserve a parade.
--Blair

John Elder Robison said...

Sex Scenes, those people in Kansas may have told you some basketball stories, but out here, we've got the Hall of Fame to prove our legitimacy.

Paula at 41 - I am not usually bored either. I heard so many new things last year that I was compelled to write a book, out of the blue.

And Tech Scribe, I appreciate your praise for my blog but you should really pass it to the proper authorities, so they will send me money and awards.

Tena said...

This year’s lineup of cars featured my Mini as the lead car

Another reason to love you. I drive a 6-speed Chili red MINI with a white top. My husband, who suffers from, um, auto-eroticism, had it tricked up for me. The car's got racing stipes, rallye lamps, the appearance package, air what's-its, and white wheels that look like jewelry. To top it off, we put the blue and white 2005 VSCDA Race Elkhart Lake vintage event sticker on the bonnet. (That year the event was sponsored by Bughatti and Elva.)

When people see this car, they smile and they always ask the same question: How do you like your MINI?

What's not to like?

John Elder Robison said...

Tena, my MINI is green but I always wished I'd gotten the red, too.

Mine has the Dinan performanc epackage, stripes, and British flag mirrors.

People ask me if I like my MINI all the time, too.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Whatever. At 5' I don't really care for tall people. ;P

I like my MINIs red with a black and white checkerboard top.

And a haul-ass engine, too. That would be nice.

John Elder Robison said...

Sex Scenes, I'm tall . . .don't you sort of like me??

The Anti-Wife said...

This sounds like a very fun outing. Thanks for sharing it!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Are you going to pick me up and set me on a high shelf that I can't get down from?

No?

Then of course I like you, John!

The Muse said...

Hey Tena,

I'll bet that you stop traffic in that car! Red cars are fun for cruisin'. My parents got me a little red Mercedes with an ivory interior when I graduated from college. You always get noticed in a red car. The problem is that you are also twice as likely to get pulled over driving a red car too. (I never did get any tickets, though...)


Now I drive a big-ass Navigator truck to haul around my son, the dogs, and all of the neighborhood kids. I'm thinking that when I have my midlife crisis that I will seek out some little red convertible for my escape...

kimmi said...

Hey John,
Nice blog--just stopping by to say hi. Cool on the parade.

hugs
kimmi

Maprilynne said...

Wow . . . I'm totally speechless. Those cars are gorgeous!!!