I'm finding it a bit surreal that some of my closest Beltsville Shell buddies have become nonagenarians!
90 years is a major milestone. In addition to celebrating Bob Vollmar's 90th Birthday at the end of 2020, Nan and I got to experience two 90th birthdays in recent months for two legendary guys.
The first was
for Bonneville legend, Lou Bingham. Below is a photo from 2016 at the
Salt flats -- Lou on the left, Thomas Payne -- who is a champion of
Beltsville Shell and the guy who introduced me to Lou -- and yours
Lou's daughter, Denise, arranged for a surprise party and Nan and I were lucky enough to be on the guest list. We snuck into a lively spot on a Sunday afternoon -- Societe Brewing Company -- along with dozens of Lou's friends.
Although we didn't know anyone there, everyone was so friendly and many people told us their stories of long-time friendships with Lou. This guy is majorly loved by the many, many lives he has touched.
Denise had arranged for one of Lou's friends to bring him to the brewery at the appointed hour. Everyone was careful to park their street rods a few blocks away so as to maintain the element of surprise. Here we are awaiting the entrance.
The planning was perfect, and Lou was completely surprised!
This is the card we prepared for the party -- before we arrived. After being there with his friends and family, and hearing all the many testimonials to Lou and his life, I guess the card got it just right!
Plus, we included a Beltsville Shell Sticker as a gift!
Thank you, Lou, for including us in your very special day!
The second party wasn't a surprise, but was equally enjoyable. This time the birthday boy was Bill Hatch, our neighbor and the original owner of a 1957 Corvette.
[Author note: Cary swears that Bill holds the World Record for the longest period of ownership of a Corvette by the Original Owner. Bill bought his 1957 Corvette from his local Chevy dealer in April 1957 and still owns the car today -- 65 years later!]
Here is Bill with two of his greatest loves -- his wife Marylyn, and his 1957 Corvette.
Marylyn and Bill's daughter, Lisa, arranged for a wonderful evening at the Seabird Resort, at the water's edge in Oceanside. The guest list was small -- just immediate family and three couples -- Nan and I were honored to be included in this intimate setting!
Greeting the guests were Lisa, Marylyn, and Bill's Grand daughters Lindsay and Sarah.
We were first treated to champagne and a classic winter San Diego sunset.
Bill greeted all of us with his ever-present smile.
Next was a delicious meal in a private patio.
And the evening ended with birthday cake and a heart-felt speech from Bill.
Bill is about as good a friend as you could ever find.
To Lou and Bill -- I'm looking forward to celebrating #100 with both of you in about 10 years!