“Opp Fest – 2014” – by Debbie Ambrous

IMG_4584Antique cars were gleaming in the sunshine, polished by their prideful owners for Opp Fest, and attracting young and old admirers. I found my best vantage point up a flight of stairs in front of the municipal building. I focused my camera for a photo of the line-up of colorful people and cars. Down below, I saw Jim shaking hands with a handsome fellow and hugging a nice-looking lady. Could that be Elaine, our old high-school teacher? Nah!! If so, she has hardly aged at all! Now, I know you are thinking anyone who taught us would be old, decrepit or lying under a tombstone. You are dead wrong! Elaine is still looking very attractive, and even more, she had a handsome guy on her arm; that lady is cougar material for sure! Whatever her secret is, it’s working!

Have you driven a car like this?

Have you driven a car like this?

This beauty was before my time, more in my parent's day instead.

This beauty was before my time, more in my parent’s day instead.

We parted company and continued our nosing around the antique autos. Back in the day, we remembered the cars on display, some just like the ones our parents or friends had owned. I stopped by a few of the models that I recognized from my youth, lost in reminiscence, thinking of the lovely people who drove cars just like these on the streets of Opp. I remembered: Mrs. Sasser had a Buick like this; Mr. Jackson drove a Ford exactly like the black one; Daddy owned a Studebaker similar to this one and Jim’s mother gave us a 1956 Chevy just one year older than the showy model on display. I parked Daddy’s turquoise Chevy with the high fins and shiny chrome to take my driver’s license test – in the very spot where the old cars were displayed. Somehow, I passed the test –even the parallel parking – the part of the test I dreaded most. Years have passed since then with many hours clocked under the steering wheel. That young teenager who was terrified of the officer who sat in the front seat for the test has different worries now. That scene seems only like a dream. Hard to believe that it happened in the same spot that I was standing. Hmm.. I better move on and catch up with the cougar.

I asked Jim, “What’s with keeping the car hoods open? I can’t get good photographs with the ugly engine out in the open.” Jim set me straight saying, “Why, that’s the key portion to display! Hours and hours have been spent refurbishing those engines, and in case you don’t realize it, that’s the most important part of the car!IMG_4582 Still not impressed with his answer, I said, “I still don’t get it. They should keep the hood down and just show the pretty outside appearance, like a lady who wants to impress someone, she …” Laughing at me, Jim said, “Yeah, you don’t know where you’re going with that line, do you?” He was right. It has been a long time. In fact, it was back to the time of these old cars when ladies dressed with the “hood down” so to speak. I must admit that women here in our community don’t dress like Kardashian as much as the Miami crowd where one could easily blush on a daily basis at the plunging necklines and short skirts only an inch or so from the crotch line.

We moved on to the art display and enjoyed the children’s art work first. Notice Charlize Mae Qualls won first prize with her creative entry.IMG_4592 Many families with cute children in tow were having a great day at Opp Fest. I saw one adorable little girl with a big bow in her curly blonde hair running around enthusiastically. I love capturing pictures of children, and I manage to snap great photos of young ones very often. IMG_4598But sometimes after I ask permission from the parents, the children go berserk, hiding under tables, running in sheer fright, crying and screaming. No coaxing or bribing will work. The cute little blonde finally warmed up to me a little bit, showing her pretty face and a timid smile. Thank you!

The art display next door at the Opp Cultural Arts Center was very impressive and included an entry by Toby Hollinghead.



You may remember an earlier post about the talented Ms. Hollinghead that also led to my interview of Doug Gitter with Gitter Gallery. Don’t miss these stories, if you did not see them earlier. CLICK here for Toby Hollinghead and CLICK here for Doug Gitter. I enjoyed meeting these interesting and talented people, and I’m very thankful that I had the privilege of sharing their stories here on A French Opportunity. The website for the Opp Cultural Arts Center has a great quote: “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.Pablo Piccaso

He smiled for me like the next Brad Pitt!

He smiled for me like the next Brad Pitt!



If you missed our Opp Fest visit in 2012, CLICK to enjoy more pictures.

We enjoyed seeing the crafts on display such as Debra Coon’s booth. I searched for something cute to buy for grandson Daniel, but didn’t find his size. She has great items at very reasonable prices.IMG_4612

Drifting toward the bandstand to hear the music, people were gathered in a semi-circle, seated in the sunshine. I moved in close to the cute lead singer – Ethan King – while he sang with his heart in every word. IMG_4610His arms were deeply tanned and muscled like he worked hard for a living. He leaned toward me and I captured his ruggedly handsome features with my camera. Jim doesn’t worry about any romantic entanglement when I move upstage in these situations. No. He worried that I would be entangled in the sound system with its huge speakers and that my big feet would kick out the sound, or knock out the entire City of Opp’s electricity! I’m moving with more finesse than that, almost like a cougar!

After enjoying my photo session with the singer, I was wondering why no one was applauding after each song. The cute and talented performer was pouring his heart out, and the band was working up a sweat in the heat, yet no one clapped! I turned and asked a few folks near me about the applause in a low voice. Either they didn’t hear me, or thought I should mind my own business, because no one replied. Jim put his arm around me and shoved me on down the street. He offered this advice, “Do you remember in the movie ‘Marie Antoinette’ when she was at the opera and no one clapped? She was top of the heap then so everybody clapped along with her when she asked them to join her. But then later on when folks thought she was lower than scum and she clapped at the opera, they sat and stared at her like she was a low-down skunk. I think we should mosey over here to the pork skin and boiled peanuts stand since I’m not King Louis XVI! No clapping, ya’ hear?IMG_4618We didn’t cover all of the exhibits and didn’t go to the carnival to see the amusement rides. I don’t have as many photos as I would have liked since my knee was hurting. A few days before Opp Fest, I fell at the end of our driveway and smashed my knee which still looked like a cross between a watermelon and a purple cabbage. You didn’t know, did you? I thought there was some reason you didn’t send flowers and chocolates.

We met up with some of Jim’s kinfolks as we were leaving. As you can see, he was happy to get reacquainted. Ya’ll come back now!  We had great fun at Opp Fest!  Hope to see you there next year!

Jim and his kinfolk - Thanks for being such a good sport, Jim!!!

Jim and his kinfolk – Thanks for being such a good sport, Jim!!!  Did you win a prize for ME?

We hope to show off grandson Daniel at Opp Fest one day!

We hope to show off grandson Daniel at Opp Fest one day!




Could you leave a message below in the reply area?  Enjoy hearing from you!

Since I don’t have anything much for the French theme on this page, I have added photos on the (CLICK) France – Storytelling and Pictures page. I created the page when I started the blog with this type of situation in mind. Enjoy!

The hot pink bag lady hopes you click on the book below to ORDER YOUR COPY.

The hot pink bag lady hopes you click on the book to ORDER YOUR COPY of  A French Opportunity.

2 thoughts on ““Opp Fest – 2014” – by Debbie Ambrous

  1. Although I don’t know much about cars, I always enjoy seeing the antiques on display. Similar to looking at older homes, it leads to imagining life in a different era. Also, love the smiles of the beautiful children. That always brightens my day.

    • Hi Audrey,
      I regretted not wearing a sunhat. The sun was brutal, and my skin cannot take it. Then again, I had the knee problem that made my visit short. It was a lovely afternoon seeing the happy children and remembering many of the things that happened on Main Street when I was a youngster. Thank you for posting a comment!!!

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