Cruising timeless pastime across U.S.A.

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

The Lady of the House and I were heading north up Main Street last Friday night just after 10 o’clock when we found ourselves in a gaggle of pickup trucks with too-wide tires and shiny cars filled with young folks yelling and gesturing at each other.

They all lined up to take a left turn on 13th Street.

“What’s this about,” I wondered aloud.

“They’re cruising, dear,” said The Lady of the House.

“No,” I said with surprise. “It’s the 21st century. They still do that?”

Wanting to be accurate in my description of cruising in Clovis I consulted a compadre of mine, Matt “Action” Jackson, a recent graduate of Clovis High. I called him because cruising in Clovis might not be called cruising.

“It’s called ‘Cruising Main,’” he said.

“Oh,” I said. “That’s simple enough.”

My buddy Catfish introduced me to cruising. He didn’t like his dad’s four-door Galaxie 500 even though Catfish had personally installed a below-the-dash 8-track player. My family had a two-door 1959 Lincoln; the thing was huge. Catfish thought the Lincoln was way groovier for cruising. We’d drive up and down the town’s main drag, Catfish hunkered low in the seat, giving me tips on how to keep from looking like a nerd.

It would be much later in life that I would come to realize that Catfish was training me to be a wing man.

Catfish was looking for “hot” girls. Catfish was always looking for “hot” girls.

As time went on, Catfish and I became cruising buddies with Mark Woolforth. Mark drove a Dodge Demon, a wicked black thing, polished to a finish that made it shine in the dark. The Demon was jacked up in the rear, equipped with huge racing slicks and shiny chrome mag wheels. Mark never said much, but he sure liked to get into fights. As I look back at those years it occurs to me that maybe he’d been hit in the head one time too many.

If Mark was bored he’d yell something to a bunch of guys in another car about their school or mommas, peel out and they’d give merry chase. I often wondered if I’d get my butt kicked and glasses broken.

Whether it was his car or his “hip” attire, Mark was what some call a “chick magnet;” girls just seemed to flock around him. This is what Catfish liked about Woolforth.

As we cruised, Mark and Catfish would ride up front while in back I’d be trying not to slide off the Armor-All covered, jacked-up back seat.

Cruising required a cool car, cool clothes and a cool attitude. One summer night my buddy Dick and I decided to cruise the town’s main drag on our bicycles. This got a lot of attention but not the kind we wanted; the cruisers tossed cans and fast-food trash at us and called us names.

The oddity of two guys on bicycles cruising did catch the eye of a car full of girls, which is what we were kind of hoping for. They pulled over to talk to us. Dick got a date out of the encounter and I got more practice at being a wing man.

Whether it’s Clovis or Anytown, U.S.A., I think the kids will always cruise the town’s main drag. Where else is a high school guy going to go to meet “hot” chicks?

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at:
blisscreek@plateautel.net