Earl Stake, shotgun

Earl Stake and companion waiting for Godot, or someone with a box-end wrench.

This enchanting photograph comes with no information except the identification of the rider in the front passenger seat, my great uncle Earl (X marks the spot), whom I met only once probably three score years after the shutter fell on this scene.

Why is the car parked, and why is one man sitting on the sideboard? Was this an engine trouble event, where a third person in the band happened to have a camera along? The engine cover is pulled back as though someone had been troubleshooting. It would not be necessary to open the bonnet to access the radiator cap if it were simply that the engine had overheated, so it seems this may have been more serious. Maybe a fourth person is taking a long walk to buy new spark plugs? No one can now enlighten us, but the tedium is palpable. It seems clear that everyone inside or out of this car, and in front of or behind the camera lens, was on their way to somewhere they’d rather be than here. – mdf

Image archive ID:

About the physical photograph:
Black and white photograph in Nancy Stake’s collection.
Written on back:
‘This is Earl in the car. You would scarcely recognize him from the other pictures of him.’


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